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.


Andy said...

I recently tried the standard Brenne and had about the same reaction. Wanted to like it because it's quite unique but just really couldn't get past the artificial tropical fruit aromas.

Lew Bryson said...

Yeah...the standard Brenne was just too sweet and fruity. Wanted to drink a lot of water after. Supposed to be getting a sample of the 10 soon.

Florin said...

I've had the same reaction tasting the regular Brenne (interesting, like drinking perfume, not for me). However, I'm surprised you didn't like it, given your infamous love of Corti Exquisite Whisky. And speaking of artificial flavors, I've gotten some strange aftertaste recently in three different Michter's samples - which presumably have nothing added, since they were a straight rye & two bourbons.

Funky Tape said...

Jolly Rancher, good call. I got the gum they used to put in packs of baseball cards from when I was a kid. Unfortunately, the flavor on the whiskey lasted longer.

My Annoying Opinions said...

Allison Patel only markets the whisky? The impression I'd got was that she was more fully involved. I guess that might be evidence of the success of the marketing.

My Annoying Opinions said...

Indeed, Josh's (characteristically effusive) write-up--which I just looked at--describes her as the whisky's "creator" and the interview backs up that notion: the barrel selection and maturation time etc. seem to be her decisions. What's not clear, however, is why the distiller isn't identified.

sku said...

I didn't mean to suggest that she only sells it, just that she is not the distiller. It does sound like she supervises the cask management.

Anonymous said...

The 10 year sounded so interesting that I picked one up last week to share with friends at an upcoming Christmas party (I've never tried the regular Brenne). I am looking forward to seeing what the 10 year brings to the table. With just 290 cases of this stuff made for 2015's release, its pure uniqueness in the world of single malt whisky makes it an intriguing option.

Björn Scholz said...

The distillery are Brunet.