What does whisky aged in space taste like? Really different, says Ardbeg distillery

Back in 2011, Ardbeg Whisky boldly went where no whisky had gone before — into space. Seeking to answer one of life’s most delicious dilemmas, that is, the “effect of micro-gravity on the behavior of terpenes, the building blocks of flavor for whisky spirits as well as for many other foods and wines,” a single vial of Ardbeg’s whisky orbited Earth for three years alongside shavings from a charred American White Oak ex-Bourbon barrel.

And now, the verdict is finally in on the difference in taste that results from whisky that was aged in space versus that which was aged on lowly Earth.

Like any good experiment, Ardbeg made sure to include a control sample, kept here on Earth for the same amount of time. And after tasting both drams, the findings reveal “major differences” between the two. The control sample, which reached an alcohol by volume (a.b.v.) of 58.4 percent (reduced to 26 percent for tasting purposes), had an aroma described as follows: “Very woody, hints of cedar wood, sweet smoke and aged balsamic vinegar. Hints of raisins, treacle toffee, vanilla and burnt oranges. Very reminiscent of an aged Ardbeg style.” As for its taste, connoisseurs noted, “Dry palate, woody/balsamic flavours, sweet smoke and clove oil. A distant fruitiness (prunes/dates), some charcoal and antiseptic notes. The aftertaste is long, lingering and typically Ardbeg, with flavours of gentle smoke, briar wood, tar and some sweet, creamy fudge.”

Ardbeg-crater

As for the sample that spent some time on the International Space Station, its natural a.b.v. was a touch lower at 56 percent, though it was also reduced to 26% for tasting. As for its aroma, Ardbeg described it as, “Intense and rounded, with notes of antiseptic smoke, rubber, smoked fish and a curious, perfumed note, like cassis or violet. Powerful woody notes, hints of graphite and some vanilla. This then leads into very earthy/soil notes, a savory, beefy aroma, and then hints of rum & raisin flavored ice cream.”

The taste of the space spirits is more intriguing still, described as “A very focused flavor profile, with smoked fruits (prunes, raisins, sugared plums and cherries), earthy peat smoke, peppermint, aniseed, cinnamon and smoked bacon or hickory-smoked ham. The aftertaste is pungent, intense and long, with hints of wood, antiseptic lozenges and rubbery smoke.”

Ultimately, Ardbeg concludes, the differences afforded by these two maturation conditions produced “dramatically different flavor profiles,” which the distillery believes “will give rise to the potential development of new flavors, and in particular new Ardbeg whisky expressions.” Moreover, the extent of the disparities is so  great that “further analysis will be carried out to elucidate the creation of the different flavors.”

So get ready, whisky lovers. There’s a new kind of liquor that may soon be on your shelves. And it’s aged in space.

Emerging Tech

Biologists have found a hormone that could make space farming possible

Researchers have shown how space farming may be possible. By encouraging plants to excrete a certain hormone, they’ve demonstrated that crops can thrive despite challenging conditions, such as low-nutrient soil and microgravity.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Smart Home

These awesome treehouses will make you question life on solid ground

Check out these truly awesome treehouses from around the world. From a three-story treehouse in the Costa Rican jungle to a mirrored cube hidden among the trees of Sweden, we’ve got you covered.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Emerging Tech

When tech goes wrong: Banksy’s shredder was meant to totally destroy his artwork

Banksy's recent auction stunt was meant to totally destroy one of his most famous pieces of work, but a fault with the shredder has left the buyer with something almost certainly worth far more than the $1 million she bid for it.
Emerging Tech

Death from above? How we’re preparing for a future filled with weaponized drones

Drones are beginning to enable everything from search & rescue, to the delivery of medicines to hard-to-reach places. But they are also being used as cheap, and deadly flying bombs. How can we defend ourselves?
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

A Fitbit for your cat shit: Automatic litter box tracks your kitty’s health

It may look like a sci-fi teleportation chamber, but Footloose is a high-tech litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way for your kitty to take a dump. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

This 3D-printed house made of earth and rice husks costs less than an iPhone

Italian 3D-printing company WASP has just demonstrated the 3D printing of a hut structure using a combination of 3D-printed concrete and a mud-based material. All for around $1,000.
Emerging Tech

Scientists want to bore holes through clouds using lasers from satellites

Researchers at the University of Geneva in Switzerland have proposed a plan to use ultra-hot and ultra-short laser beams to punch through cloud layers and transmit information from satellites to Earth.
Emerging Tech

Behind the unsettling sci-fi landscapes of Simon Stalenhag’s ‘Electric State’

The narrative artbook follows the journey of a young traveler, Michelle, and her robot, Skip, as they head west to the Pacific coast through an alternative America torn apart by civil war and the trappings of military-grade virtual reality.
Emerging Tech

Get your head in the clouds with the best vaporizers for flower and concentrates

Why combust dead plant matter when you could vaporize the good stuff and leave the leaves behind? Here's a rundown of the best vaporizers money can buy, no matter what your style is.
Emerging Tech

Get one of the best cheap drones you can buy, and cry less when you crash

Want to get in on all this hot drone action, but don't want to spend half a paycheck to make it happen? There are actually lots of feature-packed budget options. Check out this list of the best drones under $500.