Peter Norvig gave a commencement speech at the Berkeley CS Commencement earlier this year. In his speech, the tells a story of a friend of his who, many years ago, attempted to isolate the chemical that makes aged whiskey taste so good. Given that isolate, it should be possible to add it to young whiskey, and skip oak aging entirely, yet still produce something drinkable.
This friend did isolate the compound. And, as expected, it made young whiskey taste good.
The next step? Scale up. Procure a 55-gallon drum of the special sauce and start making 5 year old whiskey in a few weeks.
But there was a slight flaw in their master plan. The vendor could not provide a 55 gallon drum of this special ingredient. Why?
we regret that we can not fill your order because we are currently low on stock and, as I'm sure you know, to produce this chemical we need to age it in oak casks for five years.