This Will Polarize
Review by @Victor
Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
- Brand: Brenne
- ABV: 48%
Brenne is single barley-malt whisky from the Cognac region of France. The reviewed samples were poured from a newly opened bottle into small sample vials 6 months ago. I thank my sister, @Maddie for the reviewed samples. Brenne Ten was aged for ten years in a combination of new Limousin oak barrels and used cognac casks. I do not know whether charring was employed with either type of cask used for aging
Nose: crisp edgy barley, gentle soft sweetness, pleasant very prominent vanilla, with just a soft background of cognac grapiness. This is soft, pleasant and smooth. Intensity of flavours starts slowly, but becomes strong after 10 minutes in the glass. Water added...is beautiful, giving a fabulous coherent soft grape tapestry upon which the taster rests her or his head and forgets all of life's troubles. Score: 22/25 neat; 24/25 with water added
Taste: Delicious! The Cognac influence is obvious in the mouth. The delivery starts smooth and soft, then develops more and more of an edge, mid-delivery, finishing all sharpened-up and tingly in the mouth and on the tongue. This is quite an unusual development, is very very interesting, and is quite tasty. This is an unusual whisky. With water added Brenne Ten is very coherent and beautiful, if you like soft sweet grape. Score: 23/25 neat; 23.5/25 with water added
Finish: the sharpness and tingly quality remain for a long finish. With water added, this stays soft, fruity, sweet, and pleasant. Score 21.5/25 neat; 22/25 with water added
Balance: this is lovely, every bit of it. Brenne Ten makes a soft statement of elegant beauty. Score: 23/25 neat; 23.5/25 with water added
Total Sequential Score: 89.5 points neat; 93 points with water added
Strength: 23.5/25 points
Quality: 24/25 points
Variety: 22/25 points
Harmony: 22/25 points
Total Non-Sequential Score: 91.5 points
Comment: Brenne Ten will divide starkly between those who like soft whiskies and those who do not. Brenne Ten shows some unusual features which I very much like, as do several tasting panels. As a brand, Brenne has many fans and quite a few bashers as well. This is malt whisky in a soft and beautiful style. Intensity buffs, this is not for YOU .
Interesting. I would be interested to try this. I may have had cognac once in my lifetime so I couldn't really point out how it would affect the end product.
3 years ago 0
I don't know if I qualify as an intensity buff, but whilst this style may not be my go to, you've certainly painted a very appealing picture @Victor!
3 years ago 1Who liked this?
@Victor, a nice review for a nice whisky. I've had Brenne with you on more than one occasion, I like it. I also like brandy, especially some Armagnacs and Cognacs. Brenne is about as far away from "intense" as a whisky could possibly be. A nice easy sipper... Sunday morning stuff.
3 years ago 2Who liked this?
@casualtorture I was blessed enough to have @numen spring some long-aged, 20 and 30 yo, hot-shit Cognacs on me during some tastings. Wow! There is all the difference in the world between the better Cognacs and the inexpensive mass-market products. Just like whisky. So I would not generalize too much about Cognac, just as I do not generalize about whisk(e)y as relates to the quality of the beverage. It is fun to read Jim Murray on the subject of Cognac. He hates Cognac, with an abiding passion. To paraphrase my understanding of what he, and I, would say about its influence on whisky, it makes the whisky fuzzy, sweet, and diminishes complexity. That said, complexity is not everything in the experience of consuming an alcoholic beverage. There are entirely different moods for entirely different sorts of beverages with different flavour profiles. Sometimes one wants to be able to pick out many distinct flavours, while at other times one may want just to settle into a nirvana-like blissful blur. This Brenne Ten gives the latter sort of experience, with an extraordinarily unusual sort of sharp-edged lead-up to accompany it. Note that if what you want is blissful blur then you want to add some water to your Brenne Ten. Without water the experience is a much sharper one.
N.B. Brenne Ten is similar to the NAS Brenne Malt in its softness, but it is dissimilar in that the NAS Brenne does not have the incredibly zippy progression of flavours effect experienced here.
@RianC, I bet that you would both find Brenne Ten interesting,...and like it, or more than like it.
@paddockjudge in the past we have had the standard NAS Brenne on more than one occasion. On those occasions it was generally very well liked by all of those present, though @Nock was likely an outlier, if he had any of it with us.
For me, Brenne Ten is outstanding for certain moods. I will be very interested to see whether air exposure diminishes the "becoming sharper in the mouth as time passes" effect with open bottle time. I hope that long air exposure does not diminish that effect, because that experience is something very interesting and unusual to encounter. I have run into something like that in only 2 or 3 other products.
Thank you, gentlemen, for joining in!
3 years ago 3Who liked this?
Not sure whether this would be the right thing for me, @Victor, but I certainly enjoyed reading your review. Having said that, I once had a sample of a Hanyu finished in a cognac cask (the "Seven of Spades") and it was excellent. I am not against Sunday morning flavours either, for example à la Compass Box Asyla. I have never seen this in Continental Europe though, therefore difficult assess, sadly.
3 years ago 1Who liked this?
@Pierre_W, Brenne it is good to hear from you. Brenne Ten is unusual enough that it is well worth a taste even if it does not become a favourite.
3 years ago 1Who liked this?