Together with Finnish tech company Fourkind and Microsoft, Mackmyra is creating the world’s first whisky developed with artificial intelligence (AI). The distillery’s machine learning models, powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and AI cognitive services, are fed with existing recipes (including those for award-winning blends), sales data, and customer preferences. With this data the AI can generate more than 70 million recipes that it predicts will be popular and of the highest quality.
Color: golden yellow
Nose: toffee & cream vanilla, fine oloroso tones and fruit with citrus, pear & apples. Herbal notes of aniseed, ginger and white pepper and a light tone of toasted oak casks.
Mouth: Vanilla with fine oak notes, fruits with citrus & pear, herbal spices with slight tobacco leaves and a very small hint of smoke
Summary: Fruity and oaky, slightly salty and with a dryish end.
Beyond the blend
“We always strive to challenge the traditions in the very traditional whisky trade and that’s something we really do now when we develop a whisky with the help of AI. We see AI as a part of our digital development, it is really exciting to let AI be a complement to the craft of producing a high-quality whisky. For me as a Master Blender it is a great achievement to be able to say that I’m now also a mentor for the first ever created AI whisky in the world,” says Angela D’Orazio, Mackmyra Master Blender.
This is the first time that AI has been used to augment and automate the most time-consuming process of whisky creation. According to D’Orazio: “It’s much more complex than models used to create beer, due to the sheer number of combinations available, and the fact that whisky recipe generation is more art than engineering.”
Generated by AI, curated by people
“The work of a Master Blender is not at risk,” D’Orazio says. “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. We believe that the whisky is AI-generated, but human-curated. Ultimately, the decision is made by a person.”
Beyond the glass
“This AI-generation can have an impact in different industries globally,” says Jarno Kartela, Machine Learning Partner at Fourkind, the company behind the AI algorithm. “I envision AI systems generating recipes for sweets, perfumes, beverages, and maybe even sneaker designs. Many of these have already been attempted, but large-scale adoption is still lagging behind. We are showing the way forward, and these new AI solutions can be used to generate products that retain the spirit, look and feel of the brands behind them, while at the same time being new and unique,” continues Kartela.
Mackmyra’s AI-generated whisky will be available from Autumn 2019.