Japanese distillery Suntory is sending the world's best whisky into space to test the effects of zero gravity on ageing

The company’s initial research suggests that ageing whisky in an environment where convection is repressed increases ‘mellowness’

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The Independent Online

The Japanese distiller behind the world’s best whisky is preparing to launch six of its best samples into space to see if it can be improved.

Suntory is sending the samples of whisky and other alcoholic beverages into space to test the effects of a zero gravity environment on the ageing process and the development of “mellowness”.

The experiment will be conducted in the Japanese Experiment Module – nicknamed ‘Kibo’ – in the International Space Station, and the samples will be fired in to space on 16 August.


A spokesperson for the company told the Wall Street Journal it will be sending six samples in glass flasks into space. The samples will range from a freshly distilled whisky to a 21-year-old single malt, and will remain in space for one to two years, before being brought back down to Earth for testing. It will not be sold to the public, however.

“With the exception of some items like beer, alcoholic beverages are widely known to develop a mellow flavour when aged for a long time. Although researchers have taken a variety of scientific approaches to elucidating the underlying mechanism, we still do not have a full picture of how this occurs,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The company’s research suggests that whisky, when in an environment where liquid convection is suppressed helps to develop “mellowness”.