Brenne seems to be one of the most polarizing whiskies to come into the market in the last several years. I am not a full blown whiskey geek so I won't pretend to know all of the little details of the whiskey scene in the last decade, but people have strong opinions about Brenne.
The seem to love it or hate it.
So let me get into it and tell you what I thought of it.
About the Brenne brand
Brenne was founded several years ago by Allison Parc, a former ballerina who fell in love with different food and drinks from around the world. She most enjoyed whiskey and particularly some of the more unique "non-traditional" style American whiskey she found.
In the Cognac region of France she found a third generation distiller who had started experimenting with whisky, and over the course of the next few years they collaborated on creating a truly unique spirit.
Regardless of what it tastes like, the story of Brenne is great, but it also happens to be delicious. With its' uniquely approachable flavor, and female founder, Brenne is making whiskey not just something that old fat guys drink. Whether that's intentional I'm not sure, but it's refreshing to see either way.
So what does Brenne 10 taste like?
A fruity baking spice bomb.
Tons of vanilla, banana candy, light brown sugar, clove, and fruitcake. If you're into that sort of thing you will love it, but if you only like dry spicy spirits I have to tell you it probably isn't for you.
It is definitely a sweeter whisky, but that isn't a bad thing. I think a lot of the time people associate sweeter spirits, or even wine, with being lower quality, but that isn't really true.
If something tastes good to you.... it's good! That's what matters.
And if you are in the mood for something on the sweeter side with lots of fruity flavors Brenne will absolutely hit the spot. It's just like eating dessert. Dessert is delicious but you don't always want to eat it! Same thing with whiskey. It's okay to have bottles that you won't want to drink all the time, but when you are in the mood, it will be just what you want.
Now I feel like I should clarify a bit. You might be thinking that it is sweet like a liqueur or just ridiculously over the top, but it isn't. I wanted to talk about the sweet flavors because that is what you will see on all of the other reviews out there, and I want to say don't let it scare you.
The smell is mild and approachable. You immediately get vanilla, and tons of fruit. Banana bread, maraschino cherries, and raisins, followed by a distinct oaky-ness.
It is aged in both new French Limousin casks, and ex-Cognac casks, and I think you can really pick out distinct flavors from the casks. Have you ever walked into a wood shop where there was tons of fresh saw dust all over? That is one of the tings I can smell.
Sometimes the things that you pick up on when tasting spirits seem really strange, and you might not get that, but that is what the nose of this whisky reminds me of.
Anyway, carrying on.
The flavor starts with lots of that ripe fruit, light caramel, banana, and clove. Then it picks up with a bit of spice, more vanilla and clove, with some of those dark red fruit flavors coming in (think high quality brandied cherries that you put in cocktails).
The finish/after taste is quite similar to a Cognac I would say. More dark red fruit, toasted nuts, raisins, and light brown sugar. It leaves a pleasant vanilla oak flavor on the back of your tongue, almost as if you finished some sort of ice cream.
I think it's important to know what this whisky is NOT.
Most importantly it is not a Scotch type whiskey distilled in another country. It is distilled from two varieties of barley grown at the distillery that gives a flavor totally different of any other whiskey I have tasted.
It is slightly more comparable to rye or bourbon because it has those fruity baking spices going on, but it doesn't have the same spicy punch that so many of those often have.
To put it simply, if you get the chance taste some. It is a totally unique whisky, and I know I will be enjoying the rest of my bottle.
Give Brenne a try if you tend to like a bourbon with lots of baking spice, maple, vanilla flavors.
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