Duncan Taylor has a series called ‘The Octave’, in which whisky matured in a smaller cask. After all, on octave is only 1/8th of a regular barrel. So maturation is faster as there is more contact with the wood. That probably explains why this Miltonduff was bottled after only 9 years (along with some sister casks).
The nose is very herbal and spicy, but fruity sweet at the same time. Think hay and pine needles, upholstered with melon, apples, almond paste and cinnamon. Reminds me a bit of frangipane pastry. But the wood quickly takes the reins and dominates with a big note of woodsmoke and oak. After a few moments it turns a bit musty, which is unbecoming for this Miltonduff.
It is somewhat creamy and fairly piquant. Yes, the wood spices are very loud and push the fruit away for the most part. Again some apples and almonds, but also some rhubarb and dried apricots. Maybe some plum marmalade, but it does not last. The spices and the wood take over and the tannins and spices (think pepper and nutmeg) overpower all the rest.
The finish is very dry, medium long and again very sweet.
This little cask was apparently a little too active. The wood influences are dominating too much.