Ardbeg space-aged whiskey returns to Earth

Back in 2011, a most unusual experiment was started, one that would appeal to both the connoisseurs and the imbibers among us: whiskey aged in space. The experiment was the brainchild of NanoRacks LLC, a US-based space research firm that approached Scotland-based Ardbeg Distillery about sending some vials of terpenes into space, something they agreed to. Fast forward to early 2012, and it was announced that the vials of materials were shipped to the International Space Station via a Russian cargo flight, where they'd been sitting until just recently.

The purpose of the experiment was to see how the aforementioned compounds matured while interacting with charred oak in comparison to how the maturation process takes place on Earth. That process was slated to take two long years, which have finally reached their end, resulting in everything being packaged back up for a return trip home.

Ardbeg recently announced the materials returned safely to Earth, landing somewhere in Kazakhstan where researchers snatched them up and shuttled them off to Texas. A laboratory in Houston is analyzing the substance alongside Ardbeg's Dr. Bill Lumsden, and together they'll discover what differences gravity makes in the maturation process.

The comparison materials were apparently located in Ardbeg's Warehouse 3, having matured during the same period of time firmly on Earth. Once the analysis is complete, Ardbeg says a white paper will be published by Lumsden detailing "the maturation secrets of the universe."

SOURCE: Ardbeg