This is an interesting read: http://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/20...whiskey-batch/
It seems there is no substitute for time. Buffalo Trace, in their never-ending experimentation, has concluded that small barrels do not make good whiskey. While it seems they "age" the product faster, the small barrel results are remarkably inferior to those of their larger counterparts. This does not bode well for the craft distillers that are using small barrels in an effort to get their whiskey on the market sooner.