Ardbeg Ar5 Elements of Islay and 33.140 SMWS

Ardbeg Ar5 & 33.140 SMWS

Independent bottlings from Ardbeg are a rarity, especially those unmistakeably bearing the distillery’s name. According to Whiskybase, a mere nine independent bottlings of Ardbeg graced the market in 2023. The bulk of Ardbeg’s output tends to stay in-house, contributing to their core range, a handful of notably expensive single casks, and sought-after limited editions like the Ardbeg Day releases (which we’ll be delving into shortly). As a fan of Ardbeg and with fond memories of my first visit to their Islay distillery, I’m delighted to compare two independent bottlings side by side in this review. So, without further delay, let’s explore the Ardbeg Ar5 from Speciality Drinks, released in 2014, and the Ardbeg 2007 33.140 bottled by the SMWS at the end of 2023.

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Three Glenburgie in their twenties

Sixty-eight years of Glenburgie

Glenburgie is one of those distilleries with a severe lack of love from their owner company for the brand as a single malt. Glenburgie is currently owned by Chivas Brothers (Pernod-Ricard) and has been for a long time one of the main components of the world’s second best-selling Blended Scotch whisky, Ballantine’s. They don’t have a dedicated website for the distillery, nor a visitor centre at the distillery. The only current official bottlings are branded with the blend name: two Glenburgie 15 and 18 years old from the Ballantine’s Signature Malt range, also having two of its other main components, also owned by Chivas: Miltonduff and Glentauchers. But they’re bottled at 40%. It seems cheap but very hard to find, the only shops I could find for this being in Greece and Germany. So, it means that Glenburgie fans must turn to independent bottlers, as luckily, they don’t seem to run out of good Glenburgie casks to bottle, allowing us to have a ‘burgie fix. And let’s have our fix today, with three independent bottling of Glenburgie, all in their twenties.

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