On first glance, these photos look like the work of a sci-fi graphic designer. But, no—they’re actually images of whiskey that had been left out overnight in a Scotch glass and then photographed in extreme close-up. Artist and Scotch-drinker Ernie Button has been experimenting with photographing the residue of single malt Scotch for more than six years now, with some impressive results. His work will be shown at the Islay Festival in Scotland this May; check it out if you’re over there.

Button has also learned a thing or two about the science behind the images in the process. The lines in the photographs are caused by the particles left behind when the alcohol dries, and Button has discovered that the more inland varieties tend to leave finer residue lines. His work has even inspired a researcher at Princeton University to study the different properties of dried whiskey.

Meanwhile, we’re just inspired to go drink some Glenvenie.

[via NPR]