10 mesmerising images of dried whisky droplets

At first glance the following collection of images could be mistaken for colourful celestial bodies photographed in outer space. However they are in fact dried up droplets of various single malt Scotch whiskies, captured by US artist Ernie Button.

The photographer has documented the residue that’s left at the bottle of a whisky glass for more than a decade, resulting in an otherworldly collection images entitled Vanishing Spirits: The Dried Remains of Single Malt Scotch.

Noticing the patterns forming on the bottom of a whisky glass one evening, Button began to experiment with photographing the residue, finding that a few drops of dried single malt Scotch leaves behind sediment in various patterns.

“It’s a little like snowflakes in that every time the Scotch dries, the glass yields different patterns and results,” he has said.

There’s science behind Button’s ability to capture such images too. According to the American Physical Society Journal, unlike coffee and other liquids, for example, whisky tends to leave uniform deposit when it dries, due to a combination of molecules – surfactants and polymers – that help to guide the process.

This compares to other solutions which tend to produce an uneven stain when they dry on a surface, creating a so-called “coffee-ring effect”, because evaporation is faster at the edges of a drop than at the centre, resulting in uneven rings.

Large drops of whisky, however, appear to produce uniform stains, as revealed by images taken by Button.

Button uses coloured lights to bring his images to life, resulting in ethereal images that look like they could have been taken with a telescope, but in fact each represent a different single malt. 

You can find more from Button’s “Planet Whisky” portfolio on his website.

Click through for a look at some of Button’s most mesmerising whiskey artworks…

For more stunning images of alcohol under the microscope, check out this collection of psychedelic shots here. 

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