Carinleigh 12 year old Single Malt Scotch

Cairnleigh 12 year old Single Malt Scotch


The Cairnleigh is dark and rich in color, with a heavy aroma of oak and wheat, as well as a hint of red berry. The nose is strong without being offensive, and with a bit of a bit to it. This spice seems to supplant any hints of peat that would be associated with a Single Malt of this caliber, but there was very little smokiness of any kind.

The Cairnleigh flavor on first sip was deep, rich, and smooth – it struck me as much more refined than I would have expected from a 12 year aged scotch. This richness is more often found in a 15 year or even an 18 year bottle.

The taste is sweet at first, with hints of oak and fruitiness that play between delicate and substantial. It was a complex flavor that I enjoyed. There is a spice to the finish that I do not often encounter with a single malt, a sweet edginess that I found more like tamarind than black pepper.

Noticeably absent was the peat flavor and smokiness that often comes stock in a single malt scotch. This is a good transition drink for those more accustomed to bourbon, or not in the mood for a Lagavulin. Because of the absence of peat, I think this would be an excellent accompanying whisky for an evening cigar. Definitely a scotch I will enjoy more of in the future.


About thegentlemanandscholar

Southern Gentleman transplanted to southern California. I like a good whiskey, wine, or cigar, and try to enjoy the finer things in life. I am a veteran, a writer, a soldier, a businessman, a student, and a sartorialist.
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7 Responses to Carinleigh 12 year old Single Malt Scotch

  1. Ray Williamson says:

    Cairnleigh 12 is much better than Glen Livet or Glen Fiddiche. The morning after is no a factor as with other whiskies. No hangover, no heavy scotch tate in your mouth the next morning.

    • Ray, thanks for your comment! While “better” is, of course, a personal preference, Cairnleigh is an excellent scotch without the heavy peat flavor that is so often associated with scotch whiskys. I enjoyed it immensely, and I am glad you do as well.

      • Dave says:

        I do have to say, I love the peaty flavor of an Islay single malt, though. Laphroaig is my favorite thus far, though I’m new to the scotch game.

      • Laphroaig is an excellent peaty Scotch, and very intense for someone new to the Scotch game, as you say. It is not for the faint of heart, and one of my favorites when I want a bit of smoke! My only issue with big, heavy, peaty ones like that is that I often enjoy a glass of whisky (or whiskey) with a cigar, and the smokey flavors of heavy peat tend to compete with the tobacco… please don’t make me choose!

  2. Dave says:

    Great review. Saw a bottle and bought it, but haven’t yet given it a tasting. Looking forward to this one!

  3. Ed says:

    so good I just finished my second bottle today! Hard to find in stores in So Cal but some Ralfs markets carry it.

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