Microsoft partnered with tech company Fourkind and Mackmyra Whisky to craft AI-created single malt whisky. Yes, you heard that right! It's time for a thousand-year-old tradition to meet the 21st-century technology.
Founded by eight friends in 1999, Mackmyra Whisky has won several international recognition for their exquisite whisky flavours. Although the art of crafting whisky moves parallelly to human expertise and age-old techniques, the distillery's ambitions began to grow further. Creating a "fruity, oaky, slightly salty with dryish ends," Mackmyra created the world's first AI-crafted whisky.
Crafting the best flavour of whisky takes a lot of time, especially to bring out the unique flavour. Choosing the right cask for ageing the whisky helps to develop the right flavour, aroma and the perfect golden, yellow colour. The process of maturation allows the infusion of important flavours to take place – here is where the act of chemistry becomes art. Mackmyra has an extensive research that works together to create these combinations.
Allowing AI to craft single malt whisky not only makes the process faster, but it also helps to develop new combinations through a vast data base provided through Microsoft's Azure cloud platform. There are over 70 million innovative combinations that can be created. These recipes are born from the highest quality casks that are already in their warehouse and are predicted to be "popular."
The recent trend of culinary experiments with AI has been quite interesting. Yet, whisky connoisseurs (or any whisky lovers, in this matter) would be keen about how technology is engineered into an industry that upholds traditional methods. It faces challenging aspects such as maturation period, types of casks and, of course, human error during the process of distillation.
To this Mackmyra's Master Blender Angela D'Orazio comments, "While the whisky recipe is created by AI, we still benefit from a person's expertise and knowledge, especially the human sensory part, that can never be replaced by any program."
Jarno Kartela, Machine learning partner at Fourkind, says that the future can be impacted by the AI-generation. It can influence other industries like sweets, perfumes and even sneaker designs, he says.
The team hopes to break new boundaries with the combination of AI, expertise of a person and human taste to craft a new and unique taste. As the product hits the stores in August 2019, we invite this brand new technique to excite our taste buds.