Brenne is a cognac barrel finished single malt from France that bills itself as “a new taste profile to the Single Malt category”. On the website the creator goes on talk about how Brenne “embodies the terroir and style of the region in which it is produced: Cognac, France” and how they’re “not trying to be a Scotch just made in a different country” and that “this is truly a French Whisky”.
First off nothing can be a “Scotch just made in another country” because Scotch a term that only applies to whisky made, aged and bottled in Scotland. Single malts, grain whisky, blends, vats, bastard malts and any other variation or type of whisky that might come from Scotland are all Scotch. You can’t make a Scotch in a different country.
A site plagued by horrible marketing speak aside, the whisky itself is… interesting. Each bottle comes from a single barrel of spirit that’s been twice distilled in Alembic stills used for cognac and is then aged in new Limousin oak casks before being finished in wet cognac barrels. This is very similar to how the abomination that is Bastille is created, except after the Limousin aging they go off and play musical barrels a few more times. It’s an intriguing process, but what’s it taste like? Let’s find out shall we.
Brenne – French Single Malt Whisky Review
Age: 7ish years
Intense sugary tropical fruit charges out of the glass and leaves a wake of cognac spice, cinnamon, mild grapiness, malt and vanilla frosting with some bubblegum and cough syrup notes in the back. It’s cloying, clingy and overly sweet on the nose. Let’s hope it calms down on the palate.
Nope, no luck here. The sugary sweet tropical fruit and bubblegum notes just barge on through and end up dominating the palate leaving little room for notes of cognac spice, cinnamon and vanilla frosting to eek on through. I like cognac, and I like malt based whisky, but there is something odd going on here in the combo that’s making it hard to enjoy. I blame the Limousin oak.
More sugary sweet tropical fruit fades out painfully slow with some sour, ashy, funky and woody notes.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Way off balance. I can’t believe Wine Enthusiast gave this 93 points (actually I can). The sugar laden tropical notes completely take over. The full body with its heavy sticky feel doesn’t help matters much either and it ends up reminding me of a syrup one might drink if they were feeling a bit under the weather.
Not good. It’s one dimensional with the sugary sweet notes killing everything else. It’s hard to get beyond that sickly sweet bubblegum meets fruit-punch kick and discover much else, but when you do they comes in as hints and whispers. Limousin oak seems to give everything a bit of bubblegum along with some sticky sugary notes. Heavily flavored punch bowls or cocktails that use fruit juice is the only place I could consume this. Definitely among my least favorite whiskies.