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Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Whisky that crosses many borders, literally... She said
Dot, Bob and Cis (LOVELY whisky people)
SHE SAID: Ahhhh France. The land of pain au chocolat, romance and wine. I'll take the pastries and the romance. Move over wine, here comes French whisky! I reviewed a bottle a few weeks ago. It was different, kept morphing in my glass, even more so after I added water. It was a quirky and fascinating little whisky that kept me chasing aromas and flavors. When I wrote about it in my blog, a fellow whisky enthusiast contacted me and kindly "reminded" me there was a brand new French whisky on the market and that he had just purchased a bottle. Just so happens, he also introduced me to the one I had blogged about. I've written about Bob and his two lovely aunts before. They enjoy dramming together as often as they can.
On a recent trip to New Hampshire for my birthday I contacted Bob to see if there was a possibility for us to meet up and there was. He, Dot and Cis arrived on my birthday, presents in hand: Birthday card, birthday balloon and a whisky spread fit for a birthday girl. I couldn't have had a better birthday present! Bob was kind enough to bring many delicious whiskies from his own personal collection including the one this post is about.
Brenne - Rhymes with Men
Bob Caron was lucky enough to get a bottle of the newly released Brenne French Single Malt Whisky. This is whisky but with a fruity twist. The first difference is that it's 100% organic barley grown in the region of Cognac, France. Second difference: It's twice distilled using Alembic stills (the kind used to create Cognac). Once distilled, it ages in new French Oak and then it's finished in, what else, Cognac casks. Once aged, it's bottled from single barrels, never blended. For more information or to find out how you can get your bottle, www.drinkbrenne.com
So this brings me to the exciting part of my blog. Bob Caron is fairly new to the whisky fabric, in the sense that he knows what he likes, doesn't blog and has been enjoying whisky for less than 5 years. When we sat down together in New Hampshire, we all enjoyed the Brenne's and discussed at length what we thought. Bob's nose/palate were dead on and we all had very similar thoughts with regards to the whisky. When Graham and I got home, we unpacked and discussed our trip. Bob was also kind enough to send us home with each a 50 ml sample, to which I drank mine almost immediately. I tried to bribe Graham a few days later for his, no dice! Bob sent some really great photos of our afternoon and that's when I thought, why not ask Bob to guest write on this post with me. I asked, he accepted, I was happy. I think people like Bob have much to share when it comes to their experiences. They may be fairly new to the whisky journey but they are a refreshing addition, especially when you meet someone who has a great nose and palate, such as I believe Bob has.
So, I am proud to introduce Mr. Bob Caron, my first guest writer.
shared the Brenne with family members and was immediately struck by the sweet smelling and very fruity nose. As we struggled to puzzle out what all these fruit notes were, we came up with apple, banana, pineapple, orange, and pear. We even got the non-drinkers involved with the nosing. My mother was quite amused with that. I don't think she has ever stuck her nose in a whisky glass before. The taste has the same barrage of fruit and maybe not quite as sweet as the nose
would lead you to believe.
Finally, we realized that this fruity mix when viewed as a whole can be more easily described in one word: Bubblegum. Yes, like Bazooka Joe or those sticks that used to come with baseball cards when I was a kid. I was thinking that this was something totally different that I never encountered in a whisky before but later realized that it's the same familiar and essential component of many other whiskies with a fruity nose. In this case, it's just isolated.
I discovered this when I decided to add some to a dry, malt forward whisky with little to no fruity profile. The addition of the Brenne was magical and transformed the other malt into something resembling a fruity Speysider. The bubblegum character disappears but now you suddenly understand where those fruity notes come from and what they are like if they were
stronger. This is a whisky to keep around, not only for its unique profile but for what it can do to rescue one of your not-so-favorite bottles languishing on your shelf.
Just like my bottle of Peat Monster, I think my Brenne is something I will enjoy as the atomic bomb that it is but keep it close by as a tactical weapon in my arsenal. "
Bob Caron, New Hampshire USA - November 14, 2012
As for me, here is what I thought:
BRENNE FRENCH SINGLE MALT WHISKY, 40% ABV
Color: Straw gold. Very long and syrupy legs. Quite viscous in nature and legs are plentiful.
Nose: A fresh tropical salad: Bananas, green grapes, kiwi, pineapple, peaches and oranges with a big dollop of vanilla bean pudding. I could see how Bob smells bubblegum, I can think back to a few types I chewed as a child, very fruity and sweet. Unlike a few other whiskies I have recently tried, Brenne's fruitiness does not seem artificial.
Palate: Smooth, silky and very mouthwatering. Nice level of complex spices spring up right away: Nutmeg, a bit of anise and some lovely cinnamon (but it's subdued not overwhelming). There's a bit of creme caramel in this as well, quite a creamy/buttery taste.
Finish: From start to finish, this is fruity. There's a hint of wine acidity on the swallow but it's not unpleasant (a bit tannic). The finish is short/medium. Again, just a hint of cloves.
Brenne's brings a satisfying feeling to a well balanced sipping whisky. When the five of us sipped at it on my birthday, it promoted wonderful conversations, stories and considering we didn't know each other that well it was a fantastic ice breaker. I can easily see myself handing this out at a Christmas party to all my friends. It's something I feel everyone would enjoy, discuss and relax while drinking. I can't think of a better way to enjoy a good whisky.
Cheers to Allison Patel on a job fantastically done! If you are looking to add something new to your whisky collection just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I strongly recommend you have this one hand to share with your loved ones.
Brenne's is truly is a special and completely different single malt experience to be shared.
Now, if I could only talk Graham into giving up his sample?! Sigh...
Sur la piste de whisky français, je suis la belle "Lassie"....