Recently I've been hearing some buzz about a new unique single-malt that has been developed by a young lady who used to be a regional representative for Balcones. Allison Patel enjoyed working for the Texans but knew she wanted to create her own spirit. The result of her passion is Brenne, a single-malt from France that's made using organic barley from a seed-to-spirit farm/distillery in the Cognac region. After being twice distilled, the whiskey is aged in new French Limousin barrels before being finished in used cognac casks.
The resulting spirit is really quite special, with a creamy nose of orange peels and chocolate. You definitely want to drink this out of a snifter so you can get your sniffer down in there to enjoy the aromas. The first attack of taste is very fruit-forward, with more of the orange and some banana. As the flavor recedes, strong elements of chocolate/caramel and vanilla appear, reminiscent of a nice creme brûlée. But even with these sweet, fruity notes, there are plenty of tannins from the oak to keep your tongue interested and the flavors in balance.
At about $60 per bottle, this is more of a treat than an everyday whiskey. (You do have one of those, don't you?) But the uniqueness of this product makes it more of a special treat anyway.
It has been described as "scotch for women," which is a little demeaning to both Brenne and women. But I can see where anybody who wants to try a gateway example of single-malts might prefer this over some of the earthier, smoky Scottish versions. Local liquor stores have been snatching up the limited supply, and Nashville is the first market outside New York and Massachusetts to sell it in the U.S. If you want a bottle, you might have to hurry!