Quote Originally Posted by VT Mike View Post
Barrel size plays an important factor as well. With smaller barrels there is more surface area (of the wood) relative to the volume of liquid inside, so the whiskey ages faster. I think some of the micro-distillers have taken this too far with unimpressive results, using 5 to 10 gallon barrels, maybe even smaller (the standard size is 53 gallons) and aging for very short time periods, I've heard some are down in the 3 month range.

This may sound like I'm picking nits, but small barrels don't age bourbon faster, they impart wood character faster. Interaction between the spirit and the barrel is just one factor in aging bourbon.

In other threads here it's been said that the new make can be tuned to properly age more quickly in smaller barrels, but I've yet to taste an impatient micro with a traditional bourbon profile.