In the TNG episode "Relics" where Scotty returns, Data serves Scotty a glass of a green liquid which he cannot identify. The drink is later identified by Picard as Aldebaran Whiskey, which seems to be a fairly well-known liquor during the TNG era. It makes appearances throughout the franchise, and Quark at DS9 keeps several barrels of it in a storeroom.

Given his usual penchant for being a walking encyclopedia, how was Data not able to identify Aldebaran Whiskey... or even recognize the language on the label as Aldebaran?

And, yes, I realize the scene was a nod to Scotty's identical scene in a TOS episode. I'm looking for an in-universe reason. At the very least, Data should have known it was Aldebaran.

  • 4
    There's no reason to think that Data had ever encountered it before. I doubt he was invited to many parties as a cadet. There's also no reason to think it's well known - especially aboard Starships, where the usual tipple is synthenol. Picard only knows what it is because he's the one who gave it to Guinan.
    – Tim
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 21:05
  • There was a novelization of this episode, but the scene is quite different, with Guiñan being present and serving the alcohol. Commented May 30, 2017 at 0:17
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    Data doesn't know what snoop means. It's hardly amazing he doesn't know some brand of liquor.
    – muru
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 1:42
  • @muru - actually, not knowing slang words like "snoop" makes more sense. The show was written before the rise of the Internet, so a lot of slang would only be known to certain native speakers and/or niche fans (like Picard with detective novels).
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 20:02
  • @Omegacron "snoop" is hardly slang. Even if it were, I'd expect a walking encyclopedia to have a vocabulary that covers "slang" that you would find in any average dictionary. I'd bet even in the 1960s and TOS (let alone TNG) you would find "snoop" in any old pocket dictionary.
    – muru
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 23:03

1 Answer 1


The screen direction in the original script indicates that Data was simply unable to read the label. Since the earlier direction is that the bottle is "very old" the implication would be that the label is decayed rather than that he doesn't speak the language. He smells it but is unfamiliar with the scent.

Data bends down and reaches under the bar... then stands up and puts a very old bottle of a green liquid on the bar.

SCOTT: What is it?

Data is unable to read the label. He removes the cap and sniffs the contents... but still doesn't know what to make of it... he looks at the liquid and finally tells Scott the only thing he knows for certain.

DATA: It is green.

As you can see from the shot below, the label is essentially blank.


  • I am so often amazed that answers can be found for questions like this! +1. Commented May 30, 2017 at 17:00
  • 3
    @Quasi_Stomach - It's made possible by the fact that in previous years, the writers and makers of shows actually strove to have their shows make sense, even if the audience didn't always see what was on screen
    – Valorum
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 17:12

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