Booze Review

Whisky Review – Brenne French Single Malt Whisky


As you may already know, our blogging buddy The Whisky Woman (aka Allison Patel) has recently launched a brand new whisky in NYC called Brenne, a Single Malt Whisky that is distilled, aged, and bottled in Cognac, France (yes, THAT Cognac!). Since we have already given you some of this whisky’s back story, we’ll skip that part of our post and get right to the review.

But first, here is a bit more information about this whisky, taken from the label on the back of the bottle:

Since 1920, our family-owned distillery has been handcrafting some of the finest small-batch spirits to come out of Cognac, France. Brenne continues this tradition through the artistry of our 3rd generation master distiller. Starting with organic barley harvested from the fields surrounding the distillery and naturally pure water from nearby Charente, he refines the spirit over live-fire copper Alambic stills. The whisky is then aged in new French Limousin oak barrels, before being finished in young Cognac casks to create a lighter, more balanced profile. Brenne is a truly original single malt that is perfectly smooth and refined. 

And now for our impressions…

So photogenic! But how does it taste? Let’s find out…

Limpd’s Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Golden, darker than straw but not quite amber.
  • Aroma: A blend of fruit, vanilla, toffee, hazelnuts and licorice. Reminds me a little bit of the liquidy vanilla buttercream icing that you would pour over a lemon cookie. My better half suggested vanilla extract and Strawberry Quick.
  • Taste: Very light. You almost can’t taste the alcohol. Very sweet with the aroma carried through in a multi-layered flavor. There are swirls of vanilla, cream and berries with a very mild finish.

This is the first whisky that I have had that was finished in cognac barrels and I have to say that the maturation process has created a very different whisky. Mild, sweet, flavorful. Not a peat bomb from Islay, a buttered rum toddy from the Highlands or a heathery mint from Eire. Just something totally unique. As a further test, I gave some to Pappy and my mother-in-law and they both had a more than favorable response to the whisky. My Pappy noted the cognac influence with some added pleasure and my mother-in-law was blown away that this was a product of France and not Scotland.

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G-LO’s Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Golden yellow with a slight rosé hue when held up to the light.
  • Aroma: A few months back, The Whisky Woman schooled me on the topic of esters during a brief conversation on her blog. I can now say that I have a better idea of what she was talking about. This whisky is giving off all kinds of fruity sweetness. I’m getting ripe berries, whipped cream, cane sugar, vanilla nougat (think Torrone), and even a hint of fennel.
  • Taste: Very light mouthfeel and little to no alcohol burn when sipped at full strength. The fruitiness in the nose carries through to the palate. All of the flavors are concentrated on the tip of my tongue. For whatever reason (the Cognac barrel finish perhaps?), I’m getting a rosé wine feeling from this whisky, i.e. a little bit sweet, but with a dry and somewhat astringent quality. As you approach the finish, some herbal notes come through with a mild pepperiness in the background. Once the pepperiness fades, you are left with a pleasant, herbal aftertaste.
  • Barrel No. 264
  • ABV: 40%

Brenne French Single Malt Whisky is a very unique drinking experience. This is one of the lightest whiskies that I’ve ever tried, but that doesn’t mean it’s bland. Brenne has a lovely balance of fruit and light spices from start to finish. If ever there was a gateway whisky, Brenne would be it. Smooth, flavorful, and very easy drinking, this is the whisky to share with a friend that has always been afraid to drink whisky. Brenne is complex and flavorful enough to satisfy an experienced whisky drinker, yet approachable enough to not scare anyone away. I am really enjoying this whisky.

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Have you had the opportunity to try Brenne French Single Malt Whisky? If so, please tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

But wait! There’s more…

If you’d like an alternative opinion about this whisky, check out The Coopered Tot’s highly detailed and beautifully written review.

Thanks again to Allison Patel for sending us this very generous sample!

20 replies »

  1. Awesome tasting notes, guys! I definitely concur on the lightness, creamy sweetness with bit of acid bite and the vanilla of oak. That sweetness w/acid bit reads to some as “berries” or “rose wine”. I got apricots and then candied orange slices. No matter what metaphor it’s a creamy sweet and incredibly gentle dram with some real substance underneath. It’s also a great story. I hope that this turns into a huge success for Allison. I’ve badgered the local liquor stores to put it on the shelves and then rewarded them with a purchase when they did. Now I’m pouring this for anyone who has the time. It is always well received. What a totally delightful new world whisky!

    Like

    • Yo Josh!

      You are definitely a world class Ambassador for the spirit that we all love. I’m sure Allison appreciates your getting the word about such a delightful whisky. Thanks for the compliments too!

      Cheers!
      G-LO

      Like

  2. I loved this. It was completely different than I expected. Delicate & sweet but rich & complex. This one is in a class of it’s own with it’s unique balance of vanilla, spice, and fruit notes. For me it’s a perfect after dinner whiskey that would be lovely paired with sweets or a cigar.

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  3. I want to get my thoughts on Brenne posted soon, but they are along the same lines as yours — which are wonderfully written and described, as usual. I think it’s hard to find a niche in the whisky world as a producer/distributor, but I think Allison has done just that. Your photos are fantastic by the way – again, as usual!

    Like

    • Thanks Rob! Glad to hear you enjoyed the read and the visuals.

      You are absolutely correct with regards to your niche comments. This is a wonderfully unique spirit that I look forward to (a) enjoying over the next couple of months and (b) sharing with other like mined AND open minded whisky lovers.

      Like

  4. The first thoughts that came to mind after tasting Brenne were “fantastic” and “nectar of the gods”. Yes, I know that’s been annoyingly over used but it truly applies here. I will leave further details to those wordsmiths with more experience in describing the nuances of fine whiskey. I will say that Brenne is by far the smoothest and most rewarding of any single malt whiskey I have ever tasted. I’ll be sharing mine with like minded friends.

    Like

  5. Hi All,
    I have been so touched by your comments I haven’t known what to write except Thank You. Truly. It’s really amazing how just one person or one small group of people can make a huge difference and you all really are. I thank you first and foremost for your honesty – even if I could afford to pay for advertising and/or press, it’s never as impactful as unsolicited posts and comments from people like yourselves. I’m so relieved that Brenne has been positively received – it’s a bit scary to put everything (& I mean everything!) on the line and bring a totally new and unexpected taste profile to such old and well-respected tradition. I thank you all for keeping an open mind and recognizing Brenne they way that you have!
    Many thanks!
    Allison (aka: WW)
    🙂

    Like

    • Yo WW!

      The thank you is totally appreciated and also totally unnecessary. Thank you again for the very generous sample and for expanding our whisk(e)y loving palates.

      I can’t even imagine the hoops you had to jump through (i.e. red tape) to bring Brenne to market. I mean, there are several large players that have had trouble bringing their whisky to the US (Nikka is a prime example), so the fact that you’ve been able to do this AND deliver a high quality product is something to be very proud of.

      Cheers!
      G-LO

      Like

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