Supplier got back to me: the port barrels are chestnut, toasted and not coated with parafine or anything else.
They've got french oak as well, which is about 3 times more expensive. About 50$ for a 30l port barrel vs roughly 150$ for a 40l oak barrel.
Some concerns that keep me from just going out and purchasing either one:
The smaller size will likely lead to faster extraction of wood tannins (not sure how chestnut tannins taste/behave btw). Shorter ageing is good because it will allow me to rotate beers faster, but it sort of goes against my idea of ageing, really
Also: thinner staves and higher surface-to-volume ratio, with implied increase of oxygen uptake and increased acetic acid production.
I'm wondering if, with the volumes I'm capable of producing (5 gal), a simple glass carboy plus oak chips approach wouldn't yield equally pleasing results. Sure, I'd not have a cool barrel sitting in my basement, but at the end of the day, it's the beer that counts, innit?