Brenne French Single Malt Whisky is a relative newcomer on the whiskey scene, first introduced in the fall of 2012. The spirit comes to us from Allison Patel, who encountered the inspiration for Brenne at a farm in Cognac, France. It was there that a Cognac producer was distilling a unique single malt whiskey. Upon tasting it, Allison knew she’d found something special, and after a few years of collaborations, Allison and the distiller refined the process. This included an aging process that relied on new French Limousin oak before moving to used Cognac casks. A method that resulted in a soft, fruit-forward character that’s become the hallmark of Brenne Whisky.
Cracking open the bottle, it pours a shimmering amber. On the nose, it’s full of bananas, vanilla and chocolate, with a hint of spice in the background. Take a sip, and things really get interesting. For such a soft whiskey, it’s quite complex. Flavors range from malted barley and more fruit (bananas, oranges, apricots) to caramel candies, honey, oak and cloves. The finish is medium in length, with the initial sweetness quickly fading to a dry, cool end.
There’s a lot to take in here. We’re so used to sipping oaky bourbons, peaty scotches and their ilk. It’s a welcome change to find something so soft and approachable, yet so interesting in its flavor profile. This is the kind of friendly, easy-drinking whiskey you can push on your non whiskey-drinking friends (assuming you didn’t leave them by the wayside years ago), without alienating whiskey aficionados.
From start to finish, it’s a smooth, pleasant experience. And the fruity Cognac accents mingle nicely with the malted barley, creating a cohesive dram. Brenne Whisky is yet another testament that people are making some really solid whiskeys all over the world — whiskeys that don’t necessarily fall into standard categories.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, Brenne carries no age statement — it’s simply bottled when it’s ready. But it averages a total age of about seven years.
– 40% Alcohol by Volume
– about $55
CE Rating: ★★★★