I wrote a story for Popular Science on the science of barrel aging. The story was inspired by a trip to The Glenlivet where I tasted a 50-year-old whisky without any smoky qualities - but 50 years ago this and most whisky would have been at least lightly peated.
So I went into the article specifically looking for what happens with the smoke, but ended up writing about wood interactions as well.
To do the story, I read several wood science articles sent to me by Diageo whisky ambassador/smart-guy Ewan Morgan, spoke with Dr Bill Lumsden from Glenmorangie, interviewed Bryan Davis from Lost Spirits, and illustrated the story with a chart from Lew Bryson's excellent book Tasting Whisky.
Hopefully I didn't get anything wrong. Read it here.