Why are Japanese whiskeys so valued

Space whiskey from Suntory

Houston, we have a problem: the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have probably the best whiskey in the world on board - and are not allowed to drink it. The temptation lasts for a few more months. All because the Japanese noble distillery Suntory allows some of its fine wines to mature prestigiously in space.

This is how clever public relations works: The ampoules for their experiment have just been stowed away on the space station. The whiskey samples arrived at the end of August with other goods in an unmanned Japanese transport capsule, as the Jaxa space agency announced. The 5.5 ton capsule was launched from southern Japan with an H-IIB missile. Her cargo also included food, water, clothing, and scientific instruments.

Whiskey maturation in space

The drinks from Suntory are to mature in the Japanese Kibo module of the ISS. By the way, Kibo means hope. The official reason is the research of weightlessness on the aroma of the brandies. According to the manufacturer and according to press reports, this should be whiskey,

which comes fresh from the still. In addition to the new make, 10, 18 and 21 year old whiskey samples were also sent into space. All in all, it's supposed to be two batches of five whiskeys. The first group of vials should stay on board for 13 months, the second at least two years - maybe longer. A control group with identical whiskeys on earth will mature for just as long. Other alcoholic beverages are also to be tested.

Suntory researchers suggest that storage with low temperature fluctuations and limited movement of the liquid results in a milder taste. Suntory said whiskey experts would taste the samples on their return to Earth, while researchers would subject the liquid to scientific studies. Both test groups are to be tested with an X-ray machine and a magnetic resonance tomograph, among other things. For example, the molecular structure of whiskeys is to be examined. >>

A sale of the space samples is not planned, according to Suntory. The sales would certainly be galactic, because this whiskey would be an absolute specialty. In general, Japanese whiskeys are valued and famous all over the world. The Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 from Suntory was voted the best whiskey in the world by the renowned "Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible". Also other blends and single malts from Japan have been showered with prices in recent years. By the way, wanted.de is also convinced of the Japanese whiskeys.

World success of Japan whiskeys

Whiskey production in Nippon was established in the 1920s. In this country, the Japanese brandies are priced in the upper segment, which is also because the demand is growing strongly. Many Japanese are currently out of print. This is also because a lot of Yamazaki, Hibiki, Hakushu, Taketsuru, Nikka and co. is drunk in Japan itself.

Among other things, because last year sales in Nippon rose sharply after the national television station NHK broadcast a docudrama called "Massan" about the Japanese whiskey pioneer and Suntory founder Shinjirō Torii. He opened the first whiskey distillery in Japan in 1923.

A look at the ISS

If you are dreaming of the upcoming space whiskey from Japan, you can fire up your imagination while looking at the ISS. The station can be seen with the naked eye even from the ground if the conditions are right. For example, when the sun shines on it early in the morning or in the evening and the sky behind the station is dark enough. Then the ISS shines brighter than all the stars. The International Space Station (ISS) orbits the earth at an altitude of around 400 kilometers.

It remains to be seen whether the experiment in space will result in any benefit for the product other than publicity. In any case, at the Ardbeg distillery the excursion into space boosted sales: In November 2011, the Scottish competition from the LVMH group sent ampoules with unripened whiskey mixed with pieces of oak with a Soyuz capsule on the ISS. The young Ardbeg from the island of Islay was examined in a double test with normal gravity on earth and in weightlessness.

Ardbeg manages the space coup

Then Ardbeg launched the special edition "Galileo" and thus celebrated the space experiment. The label adorns a rising rocket, the Scotch developed into a veritable best seller. Many fans had apparently speculated that parts of the space sample were added to the Ardbeg Galileo. However, a single malt Scotch whiskey can only be called that if the entire distillate has been distilled, stored and bottled in Scotland. In fact, the "Galileo" is whiskey of various qualities from 1999. The centerpiece is a whiskey that has matured in former Marsala wine barrels from Sicily. This brandy was combined with Ardbeg, which was stored in former first and second filled bourbon barrels.

And lo and behold: The Ardbeg Supernova 2015 - officially launched in summer 2015 to celebrate the evaluation of the space results - is definitely an earthly whiskey. Which doesn’t change the fact that the brand will sell well for more than 200 euros.

You can find impressions of this drink and the Japanese whiskey in our photo show.