Whisky Review: Brenne Estate Cask

Brenne Estate Cask is a French whisky distilled in Cognac. Production is limited to 30,000 bottles a year, and it’s matured in French Limousin oak barrels before being finished in young Cognac casks. The farm that produces Brenne Estate Cask has been in operation since the 1920s and has been making single malt whisky since the early 2000’s.

The barley used in Brenne Estate Cask is organic and locally grown. The soil in the Cognac region apparently has a nice pH balance which helps to produce a smooth distillate. Since Brenne has only been bottling their whiskies for the past few years, this is an entirely new experience for me. Let’s see how Cognac’s unique soil and Brenne’s innovative distillation processes pan out!

You will pay around $50-$60 for a bottle of Brenne, which is significantly more expensive than a lot of whiskies I have tried, but still in a reasonable range. The bottle has a simple, classic design with minimal flourishes and a bright blue label. The blue contrasts beautifully with the deep amber liquid inside.

Opening the bottle, I detect so many aromas that it takes me a few minutes to start sorting them out. There are a lot of fruit aromas here, and I can’t be entirely sure what they all are, but I think I am picking up pineapple, peach (or apricot), and maybe even coconut—but that might be vanilla. There is something a bit citrusy in here, and a hint of something else candy-ish, maybe licorice. Basically, I feel like I just walked into a candy store full of fruit gum drops and other sweets.

This tastes exactly like it smells—like you are strolling through a dime store candy aisle. I am getting pineapple for sure, maybe banana, and definitely peach or apricot. There may be raspberry in here too. It’s just packed with sweetness, but there is a hint of something tart here too. The tartness balances out the sweetness so that it isn’t overwhelming. There is also a subtle taste of something grounding and mature in the backdrop, maybe oak. I think if not for that oak, the subtle tartness, and a hint of spice that weaves through it all, this would be an odd experience, and a bit too “high pitched” for me. But the oak and tartness round out the flavors nicely, bringing them back to earth.

… Not for long though. The finish here is nothing; it just evaporates. I wasn’t sure what to think of this whisky at first, but I found myself gulping down more to make up for the nonexistent finish.

So in short? It’s good stuff, but not what you usually picture when you head out to buy some whisky. It’s very sweet, but not too sweet. If you are a candy lover, this is like a party in a bottle. I think since this is a different kind of whisky, it may also appeal to people who usually don’t drink it. A very interesting and unique purchase.

Brenne Estate Cask: Summary

Colour: Deep rich amber.

Nose: Candied fruits: pineapple, coconut, peach or apricot, citrus, vanilla, licorice.

Palate: More candied fruit: pineapple, banana, peach, raspberry, vanilla, oak, subtle spice.

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