Over the past decade, the Japanese company Suntory (Suntory Holdings Ltd.) has been steadily “gaining momentum,” winning one prestigious award after another. Finally, at the end of 2014, a barrel of single malt Yamazaki whiskey won the prestigious Whiskey Bible prize for the first time, which gave the experts reason to say that Santori produces the best whiskey in the world. Rich, deep, mysterious, indescribable - all these epithets are replete with descriptions of tastes and aromas of the company's products.
The history of Japanese whiskey began in 1918, when one Masataka Taketsuru went to Glasgow to study organic chemistry. The study ended with Taketsuru falling in love with Scotch whiskey, and returning home, he founded the first Japanese distillery.
The history of 90 years is not impressive when compared with the centuries-old traditions of whiskey production in Ireland or Scotland. Even more striking is the fact that the Japanese have achieved high results, operating with insignificant resources. If in Scotland you can find hundreds of raw materials for mixing commercial whiskeys, then there are only two malt distilleries and one distillery at the disposal of Santori.
What is the secret of success of Japanese whiskey? Representatives of the company, of course, are in no hurry to reveal their secrets, evasively referring to the hot, humid summer and the cold winters of Japan. But the main reason is the scientific approach. The company does not spare money for research.
August 19, 2015 started the Japanese space truck "Konotori-5" (HTV-5 Kounotori). Together with six tons of other payload, he drives the Santori whiskey to the International Space Station. The goal of sending an expensive and prestigious drink to space is not to please astronauts with an unexpected gift. Whiskey in this case - the object of research.
It is no secret that the taste and aroma of most alcoholic beverages, except, perhaps, beer, with an aging becomes deeper and softer. But why and how this happens, scientists do not yet know.
Not content with the fact that their temples have already been named the best in the world, distillers from "Santori" together with researchers from several Japanese scientific institutions are going to check how gravity affects the aging processes of the noble drink. The science team is planning a series of experiments with whiskey to sort out the secrets of alcohol.
The research program called "Identifying the mechanism for mitigating alcoholic beverages." Samples delivered to orbit will be divided into two groups. The first will spend a year on the ISS, while the second will be studied in zero gravity for two years, possibly longer.
By the way, Japanese whiskey is not the first cosmic drink. In 2009, in Japan, and this spring - and in the USA, they put on sale beer made with the help of yeast that had been in orbit.