“Whiskey scientist” is officially the coolest job a person could have, because a team from Ardbeg Distillery decided it would be fun to shoot some whiskey into space, and now the whiskey has returned safely so they can see what happened to it.
According to Gizmodo, the project is a joint effort between Ardbeg Distillery and space research company NanoRacks, who are evidently masters of the “why not?” school of science. In 2011 they decided to fire some small vials of whiskey particles called terpenes into space to see how they interact with charred oak in microgravity. And now those particles have come home.
According to Ardbeg the whiskey vials have been “orbiting the planet on the International Space Station at 17,227 miles per hour, 15 times a day” since 2011. Now they’ve safely landed in Kazakhstan, and they’re set to be shipped quickly to a lab in Houston where scientists will analyze the particles, which can be used to brew whiskey.
According to Ardbeg, “It will be the team’s task to proceed to unlock the mysteries of maturation, through the study of the interaction between Ardbeg-crafted molecules and charred oak, both in micro-gravity (in orbit) and normal gravity (in Ardbeg’s Warehouse 3).”
The results of the experiment will be revealed in an upcoming white paper, which will hopefully include tasting notes, because surely someone is going to have to taste the space samples.