An un-matured malt whisky that spent nearly three years in space has finally come back to Earth – and apparently it tastes better than ever.

Ardbeg Distillery from Islay in Scotland sent a vial of un-matured malt whiskey into space as an experiment to investigate how micro-gravity would affect the behaviour of terpenes, the building blocks of flavour for many foods and wines as well as whisky spirits.

Ardbeg was invited to take part in the space experiment in late 2011 by Texas-based space research company NanoRacks.

The vial was launched by Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan and spent nearly three years on the International Space Station.

According to Ardbeg’s Director of distilling and whisky creation, Dr Bill Lumsden the space samples which have just come back to earth now, taste and smell “noticeably different” to the ones kept here on Earth.

“When I nosed and tasted the space samples, it became clear that much more of Ardbeg’s smoky, phenolic character shone through – to reveal a different set of smoky flavours which I have not encountered here on earth before,” he told BBC News.

“Ardbeg already has a complex character, but the results of our experiment show that there is potentially even more complexity that we can uncover, to reveal a different side to the whisky.”

Ardbeg’s tasting notes from the space sample read:

“Its intense aroma had hints of antiseptic smoke, rubber and smoked fish, along with curious, perfumed note, like violet or cassis, and powerful woody tome, leading to a meaty aroma.”

“The taste was very focused, with smoked fruits such as prunes, raisins, sugared plums and cherries, earthy peat smoke, peppermint, aniseed, cinnamon and smoked bacon or hickory-smoked ham.”

“The aftertaste is intense and long, with hints of wood, antiseptic lozenges and rubbery smoke.”

Compared to the Earth sample:

“The sample had a woody aroma, reminiscent of an aged Ardbeg style, with hints of cedar, sweet smoke and aged balsamic vinegar, as well as raisin, treacle toffee, vanilla and burnt oranges.”

“On the palate, its woody, balsamic flavours shone through, along with a distant fruitiness, some charcoal and antiseptic notes, leading to a long, lingering aftertaste, with flavours of gentle smoke, tar and creamy fudge.”

Interesting. I know which one I’d rather.

Would you try the space whisky?