Booze | January 23, 2023 11:15 am

This Is the First Bourbon Aged in Space

After a conventional aging on Earth, Mystic Galactic's bourbon will spend a year in low earth orbit — if everything goes right

A bottle of Mystic Galactic, a bourbon that's going to be aged partially in space
A bottle of Mystic Galactic, a bourbon that's going to be aged partially in space
Mystic Farm & Distillery

We’ve had bourbons aged at sea and ryes aged while traveling Route 66. But we’ve never had a whiskey aged in space, which may happen sooner than later thanks to an ambitious new bottle announced called Mystic Galactic.

A heavily wheated, 100-proof bourbon from North Carolina’s Mystic Farm & Distillery, Galactic will be aged three years on the ground and then one year in space (well, low earth orbit). A “Ground Control” version will use the same mashbill but will age conventionally only on Earth. Overall, the distillery expects to get about 1000 bottles out of the experiment.

So, how likely is this all to happen? While HiConsumption reports the company’s vague promise to work with companies like SpaceX, Rocketlab, and Bank of America, it seems that potential customers are going to have a lot of faith. The good news is that Mystic promises that if they’re unable to deliver the bourbon, buyers will receive a refund of their deposit funds (less any event admissions and app access charges incurred up to that point).

Still, it’s a steep bet: $75,000, which gets you a 750ml bottle in a specially-designed flight case, a 50ml tasting sample, part of the barrel that was in space, access to two “ultra-luxury events” (the launch and recovery) and an app where you can follow the aging process and get other information while the bottle is out in orbit. There’s also an NFT element, which normally would give us pause but here it simply seems to be a way to authenticate bottle ownership. You also have to pick up the bottle in person.

And it’s not going to be easy: As Mystic notes on the bourbon launch site, “The physics of a barrel in orbit and on reentry present interesting questions of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, orbital mechanics and virtually every aspect of aerospace engineering.” To that end, the distillery says they are working with the “world’s top spaceflight contractors” and the electrical engineering and computer science programs at N.C. State, along with creating a dedicated mission control center at N.C. State Centennial Campus.

This isn’t the first booze in space: Ardbeg conducted a very small experiment with some whisky vials on the International Space Station in 2011. And an experiment on the ISS for bottles of space-aged wine happened more recently. But we can’t think of another instance where barrels are going into orbit.