Brenne Cuvée Spéciale (2018)
Brenne has been on my radar pretty much since its inception in 2012, yet I’ve never got around to try it. Until now. This French single malt brand was founded by American entrepreneur Allison Parc and reviews of it haven’t always been kind so far. Yet, Brenne seems to be a success and is sold across the United States and Europe.
Made in the French Cognac region, Brenne is not your everyday single malt. Most everything about it is local. The two types of heirloom barley are grown in the fields surrounding the distillery. A proprietary yeast strain is applied for fermentation.
Most interestingly though, Brenne single malt is twice-distilled in an alembic Charente still, an interesting distilling apparatus that’s designed to process fermented grape juice instead a barley mash. French Limousin oak and ex-Cognac casks are then used for maturation.
Quite unusual indeed…
Brenne Cuvée Spéciale (40%, OB, 2018)
Nose: Shy and fruity with a malty touch and whiffs of aniseed. The fruity notes (peach, banana) are somewhat artificial and candy-esque, not unlike bubblegum.
Taste: Not good. Sweet cough syrup and strawberry flavoured tooth paste for kids. It’s funky, but not the good kind. There are some spices lingering in the background and there’s even a touch of raisins.
Finish: Rather tannic and spicy. Medium in length.
Very hard to judge because there’s not much to compare it to. It doesn’t fit into any flavour camp and rather is an entire category on its own. Please do try it when you get the chance, but don’t expect anything that resembles whisky as you know it.
Photo: Master of Malt
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.