Whisky taking off

This, from AFP via Yahoo, brought a smile to my face, and a longing to my lips:

Japanese whisky will be sent into space next month to test how time in a zero-gravity environment affects its flavour, one of the country’s biggest drinks makers said Friday.

Samples of whisky produced by Suntory will be stored in the Japanese laboratory facility of the International Space Station for at least a year, with some flasks staying longer.

Researchers for the company believe that storing the beverage in an environment with only slight temperature changes and limited liquid movement could lead to a mellower flavour.

I hope they are confident the astronauts won’t be tempted!

More seriously, I would be interested in the science behind the claim that the whisky may have a mellower flavour.


Suntory will send whisky aged for 10, 18 and 21 years as well as a number of other alcoholic substances.

Once they are returned to Earth, blenders will assess their flavours while researchers subject the liquids to scientific analysis, the company said.

“For the moment, we’re not thinking about applying the study results to commercial products,” a Suntory spokeswoman told AFP.

But I presume the returned samples will be worth quite a bit.

Finally, this closing piece adds some context to the whole issue of Japanese whisky:

Whisky demand rocketed in Japan last year after national broadcaster NHK aired a period drama called “Massan,” the true story of a Japanese entrepreneur and his Scottish wife who are credited with establishing Japan’s first whisky distillery.

Sales also soared when Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 was named the best in the world by the prestigious Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015.

Beware the marketing moves. The important thing about whisky is to drink what you like, not what people tell you to like. One man’s pleasure is another man’s poison, and so on. That’s why I am always sensitive to questions about whether a particular whisky is good or not.

All of that having been said, I am intrigued by the apparent quality of that Suntory product. The last time I tasted Japanese whisky – admittedly a long time ago – it was not to my liking. So, I wonder how I can get a hold of some Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013…