Have you ever tried whiskey? Yeah? Well, what about space whiskey? Unless you're high up in the ranks of Ardbeg, the answer's probably "no." They're the first company to age a whiskey at the International Space Station, and the results are in. They've published their findings in a white paper, and it's got all the juicy (boozy?) details.
Terpenes are compounds that occur naturally, and they're abundant in whiskey. The variation from bottle to bottle is what gives a whiskey its distinct flavor, so it makes sense that Ardbeg's research revolved around differences between various terpene levels in the samples. Their results, which they described as "unexpected," were apparent in the numbers.
While it's tough for a non-expert to wade through these numbers and make sense of any of it, one thing is clear: there are big differences in the figures. Interestingly, they didn't swing one way or the other — some analytes were higher in the ISS sample, and others were greater in the control sample on Earth. The experiment allowed the team to demonstrate, as they state in the paper, "that in micro-gravity terpenes behave differently ... compared to those on Earth." The variation in both samples led to remarkably different tastes. The control aged expectedly, but some strange flavors were found in the ISS sample. Amongst a larger description, they describe the aftertaste as "pungent, intense and long, with hints of wood, antiseptic lozenges and rubbery smoke."Check out the clip below to hear from a few people involved in the experience. Let us know what you thought in the comments when the video's over, and be sure to share it with your friends on Facebook!