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How Well Does Scotch Age in Zero Gravity? A Distiller Launches Some to Find Out

•, By Paul Adams
 Scotch gets a lot of its flavor, and all of its color, from aging in oak barrels for decades on end. Precisely what happens in those barrels, on a chemical level, is a very complex and not-entirely-understood process. There's been a lot of analytical science devoted to it, and efforts to get the benefits of aging much faster -- but this is the first time to my knowledge that it's been aged in space.

The whisky was given room by a company called NanoRacks on a cargo ship that launched in October, but Ardbeg kept the experiment under wraps until head distiller Bill Lumsden announced it today, at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. NanoRacks, which is in the business of providing space for experiments on the International Space Station, launched a sample of unaged whisky mixed with charred oak and will compare the space-aged whisky with control samples aged on Earth for the same two-year period.

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