During the 1950s and 1960s, the Seagram Company conducted extensive research into all aspects of the whisky-making process. Two experiments were conducted with barrels.
One was a sort of cradle, in which the barrels were continually rocked. The idea was to imitate the motion of a boat. People first realized that motion could improve the aging of whisky back in the days of sailing ships, when some observant drinkers noted that whisky tasted smoother after it spent a few months crossing the Atlantic in oak barrels. This experiment did in fact speed up the maturing process, but the cost of continuously rocking thousands of barrels ruled out any chance of implementation.
The other barrel experiment conducted in the Waterloo plant involved a square whisky barrel design. Ageing whisky in a square barrel did seem to result in a whisky of a different character, but the logistics of moving square barrels soon proved this design impractical.