The beauty of the opening of space for commercial research by Nanoracks is that it’s allowed a number of different experiments to flourish on board the International Space Station. Perhaps on of the most interesting is one being carried out by Ardbeg Distillery – they want to see what happens to the chemical interactions that give Scotch its flavor characteristics when they happen in zero gravity.
Inside the MixStix is some brand new Ardbeg spirit – about a half a liter – and shards of charred oak like the oak that exists inside a cask. The experiment travelled to the International Space Station on a Soyuz in October of 2011. Once installed, an astronaut activated the experiment, causing the spirit to mix with the oak particles. At the same time it was activated in space, a control sample was activated here on Earth.
The spirit will mature with the oak for at least two years. And the company is fascinated by the possible outcomes.