Ageing spirits in unorthodox – some might even say extreme – environments is nothing new. Savvy distilleries across the world have been stashing their barrels in all sorts of places, including a mountain-top, the belly of a ship and even the bottom of the ocean, in the hopes of speeding up the ageing process or even imparting unique qualities that can’t be replicated elsewhere.
So what happens when you age spirits in outer space?
That’s the question that North Carolina-based Mystic Farm & Distillery hopes to answer once their five barrels of bourbon – which have been aged for at least three years conventionally – return after spending a year in low orbit.
According to the distillery, they will be sent there with the help of companies like SpaceX, Inversion Space, Bank of America and others.
They are expected to yield between 1,000 to 1,500 bottles of aptly named Mystic Galactic, which can subsequently be compared to the equally well-named Ground Control – made from barrels of the same spirit that remained firmly on Planet Earth throughout the ageing process.
A 750ml bottle of Mystic Galactic bourbon can potentially be yours for the hefty pre-order price of US$75,000 (S$99,000) in the form of an NFT (non-fungible token).
These NFTs will used exactly as the technology was intended – as an irrefutable certificate of ownership that can’t be tampered with or replicated. After all, the company would rather not leave anything to chance when handling “this stupendously rare and expensive asset”.
The S$99,000 also goes toward a 50ml sampler bottle, admission to two ultra-exclusive pre-launch events with entertainment and swanky grub, as well as access to an app that provides real-time video and data from the orbiting barrels.
You can also expect to receive a piece of one of the space barrels and two tasting glasses with your bottles of space-aged whiskey – all of which you have to pick up in person, NFT in tow, so that no bottles reach the wrong hands.
According to Mystic Farm & Distillery, this deposit will not be used as working capital to get Mystic Galactic into space, and will be fully refundable in the event that they fail. Still, it might be wise to wait for further confirmation before whipping out your credit card.
That being said, Mystic Galactic, it isn’t the first booze to be aged in space. The International Space Station has played host to not one, not two, but three pours in the past decade: vials of scotch from 207-year-old Scottish distillery Ardbeg back in 2011; followed by Japan’s Suntory whisky in 2015; and most recently, a dozen bottles of French Bordeaux wine.
None of those were commercially-available though, which makes Mystic Galactic a potential collector’s item – should the mission proceed.