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- Brand: Brenne
- ABV: 40%
The Brenne single malt whisky brand is owned by Allison Patel, a New York City based American who is an international traveler, businesswoman, and whisky blogger. Brenne whisky is produced by Ms. Patel in cooperation with a long-time French Cognac and whisky maker in Charente, France.
The reviewed bottle was opened and sampled 12 days ago and again today, with a decanted sample from the same bottle
My sister purchased 2 bottles of Brenne Estate Cask at a tasting recently given by Ms. Patel herself in Baltimore. The bottle has no age statement, but the Brenne website states that the average age of the whisky is 7 years. Brenne Estate Cask is double distilled in Alembic copper stills, using all grains and water from the Charente area of Cognac, France. The whisky is aged in NEW limousin oak casks and finished in Cognac casks. This is a single barrel product. The reviewed bottle is listed as from barrel # 261, but my sister tells me that Allison Patel told her that this was actually from the very first barrel bottled and released. One other interesting point: Brenne whisky is distilled using a "cool fermentation" technique of the sort employed in Cognac making
Nose: the nose is extremely floral and perfumed, showing medium-pitched mellow grape and huge bouquets of roses. The balance of sweet and dry is perfect. Personally I love this nose, though those who do not like either floral or perfumed effects will not be so enthusiastic. Barley is only hinted at in the nose, as is the intense Limousin oak to follow. Water added bundled and congealed the nose flavours without improving them
Taste: Wow. This is so different on the palate than in the nose! After a brief early soft wave of fruit, the barley comes on stiff, hard, and strident. This is some of the sharpest barley I have tasted in any malt whisky. From the barley there is some typical barley apple fruitiness and some sweet-and-sour citrus. The spicy Limousin oak is also very strongly in evidence throughout the delivery, and conveys strong notes of black pepper. Added water softened the palate tremendously, but reduced it to an indeterminate mush
Finish: Brenne Estate Cask Single Malt finishes on very fuzzy flavours of Cognac Brandy, plus black pepper which remains strong on the tongue. The sharp barley also remains long in certain parts of the mouth. With water the finish becomes vaguely winey, and still strong, but indistinct
Balance: when I first tasted this Brenne Estate Cask whisky 12 days earlier, I didn't notice any barley flavours persisting into the finish,...only the Cognac casks and new Limousin oak spices. With just a little time of the bottle opened this Brenne expresses itself very forcefully, i.e. with very strong flavours indeed, especially for a 40% ABV whisky. Allison Patel has stated that she wants to produce a new and original whisky. This Brenne does succeed in being different.
Personally, I love the nose. Some will not. And those who insist that the palate of a whisky should translate the nose will perhaps be grievously offended by Brenne Estate Cask Whisky, barrel "261". I myself don't care much whether or not the palate deviates from the nose, if I like each part individually. The individual elements of the palate and the finish of Brenne whisky are quite interesting and I do like them a lot, though the pepperiness of the new Limousin oak casks is maybe a little too strong. What could be improved upon here is how well each of these rather tasty and interesting parts harmonise with and balance one another. I look forward to sampling future Brenne products