If you’re a fan of scotch or other malt whiskey beverages, the latest experiment headed to the ISS might grab your attention. An experiment in the chemistry of whiskey maturation is being conducted on the ISS. A liquor company with headquarters on the island of Islay in Scotland called Ardbeg Distillery announced this week that it had sent vials of raw materials to the ISS aboard a Russian cargo flight that took off last October.
The vials contained unmatured malt ingredients and particles of charter Oak. Those vials will stay on the space station for at least two years with no interaction for any of the ISS crew. The ingredients will later be bought back to earth where they will be chemically compared with control samples to see if they’re the same after the vials were in zero gravity for two years.
The researchers at the distillery want to determine whether a zero-gravity environment has any effect on the chemicals that give whiskey and other spirits their flavor and aroma. The researchers specifically studying the zero-gravity effects on terpenes. One thing we can count on is the company will have at least a few bottles of really expensive space scotch.