Sep 30, 2014

Brenne – French Single Malt Whisky Review

Brenne is a cognac finished single malt from France that...

Brenne French Single Malt Whisky Review

Brenne is a cognac finished single malt from France that bills itself as “a new taste profile to the Single Malt category”. On their website the creators go 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”. Which on the surface sounds nice, but I get the feeling that’s the marketing department talking because all of that makes very little sense.

First off nothing can be a Scotch made in another country because that’s a gelatinous term that applies to any and all whisky made 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 because they are made in Scotland. See the connection?

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 cognac barrels. This is very similar to how the abomination that is Bastille is created only after the Limousin aging they go off and play musical barrels a few more times. It’s an intriguing process for sure, but what’s it taste like? Let’s find out shall we.

Brenne – French Single Malt Whisky Review

Barrel: 261

ABV: 40%
Age: 7ish years
Price: $55
Distiller: Brenne

EYE
Burnt copper

NOSE
There is an intense sugary tropical fruit that charges out of the glass and leaves a wake of cognac spice, cinnamon, mild grapiness, malt, vanilla frosting and 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.

PALATE
Nope, no luck here. The sugary sweet tropical fruit notes just barge on through and end up dominating the palate leaving little room for notes of cognac spice, cinnamon, bubblegum and vanilla frosting to eek on through. I like cognac, and I like malt based whisky, but there is something odd going on here and it’s hard to enjoy.

FINISH
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. 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.

OVERALL
Not good. It’s very one dimensional with the sugary sweet notes just kill everything else. It’s hard to get beyond that sickly sweet fruit punch kick and dig in deeper to discover much else and when you do they just come in as hints and whispers. The Alembic stills and Limousin oak seem to give everything a bit of bubblegum because that’s 2 French whiskies I’ve had now created like that and they have similar sticky sugary notes and a bubblegum hint to them. Heavily flavored punch bowls or cocktails that use fruit juice is the only place I could consume this. It’s definitely among my least favorite whiskies.

SCORE: 70/100

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tagged french whisky, brenne, cognac, french, review, single malt...