Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Cognac's Single Malt: Brenne & Brenne 10
Brenne is the project of whiskey blogger Allison Patel who writes The Whisky Woman blog. A few years ago, she began marketing this French single malt distilled by a Cognac producer on a Cognac style Alembic still. It is aged in new French Limousin oak and finished in Cognac casks.
Brenne has no age statement but averages 7 years old. Patel recently extended the Brenne line with a ten year old expression. Thanks to Brenne for sending me these samples.
Brenne, 40% abv ($55)
Brenne is a single cask whiskey, but there was no cask number on my sample.
The nose has massive fruit candy notes, like a Jolly Rancher. The palate is a weird fusion of Cognac and malt. It starts with strong fruit notes, almost like a Calvados, then transitions to dry notes with a touch of malt. The finish is lightly malty and, later on, a bit soapy. This is very unique stuff, unlike any single malt I've had before, but it doesn't work that well. The nose and early palate are aggressively fruity, but in a sort of artificial fruit flavor sort of way. The late palate and finish are dry but without much character.
Brenne 10, 48% abv ($100-$120)
The new Brenne 10 is a marriage of four casks that have been aged in new oak, Cognac casks or a combination thereof. Josh Feldman has a detailed interview with Patel about the new product on The Coopered Tot.
The nose on the ten year old has very light malty notes. The palate is lightly sweet with some brandy like earthiness which develops into a peppery finish. This one is nice and worth a try. It has more complexity and the flavors come together more cohesively.
Well, between the two of these, I definitely prefer the ten year old. However, I have heard there can be a lot of variation between different casks of the standard Brenne, so some may be better than others.