First, some of the background to the Quarter Cask. This expression from Laphroaig is thus called because it is aged not in the usual American bourbon casks, but in quarter-sized casks that were more in vogue 200 years ago. The 30% greater contact between malt and oak makes for a fine maturation, even in five years. The quarter cask is bottled un-chill filtered, at 48% ABV. It is thus a very rich, complex and strong offering from Laphroaig.
The distinct woody smoke is noticeable at first sip, though that may not be sensed by someone used to the usual smokiness of the 10 year old. But the Quarter Cask excels in its complex, varied palate that goes from sweet between the lips to chilly on the tongue. There is an energy and rush to it, and the 20% extra ABV is definitely noticeable after a few pegs.
Though I've spent a few memorable nights with the Quarter Cask, on most days I would prefer the 10 year old (especially if I have a 43% bottling). One must also factor in that the Quarter Cask is not available in Gurgaon- while the 10 year old is. And if one is passing by the duty free retail section, then it is always tempting to try something new rather than return to the reliable Quarter Cask (which is available in Delhi Duty Free).
sweet and chilly both, complex smoke