We wanted to start our Tasting with something lighter, summery, sweetly satisfying… delightful desert dram influenced by maturation in a Cognac cask.
I shared with my fellow tasting companion Alison Parc‘s story – from ballet to booze, America to Europe (with an ex desi connect too). With her focus on terroir with barley, use of French Limosine Oak and ex Cognac casks, she’s pulled off a distinctively feminine style… I remembered how much the Whisky Ladies enjoyed the Brenne Estate Cask, which lead me to be confident this would be a terrific start to our tasting.
Brenne Cuvée Spéciale 40%
- Nose – Initially greeted with apple blossoms, overripe bananas, a touch of cinnamon spice, then the banana became even more prominent – inviting us to indulge in banana cream pie… we kept returning to find shifting deserts and sweets… from bannoffee pie to a banana strawberry smoothie to candied fruit to lightly salted taffy popcorn, creme brûlée
- Palate – So silky smooth, pure liquid desert in a glass, banana toffee, pineapple, milky Parsi toffees, french pastries… was that a hint of coconut? Light coco? Whatever the different elements, it is simply delicious!
- Finish – Drying yet delightful… softly sweet tail…
We came back for a 2nd round with the last drops of our sample and delighted in the bubblegum… yes bubblegum! In this case, it is more than just a childhood flashback, it somehow manages to be playful and elegant at the same time. Frothy but not completely frivolous. Certainly not classically Scottish yet still very classy.
To be honest I’m not sure if the Cuvée Spéciale is simply a different branding in the UK for what was available as Estate Cask in the US. When we compared our experience with the Whisky Ladies in 2017, it could have been the same – just with much more banana in our tasting than found earlier. This could be due to Brenne’s approach to bottle from a single cask or be a ‘sister’ expression.
Our mini came as part of the Master of Malt 2019 Advent Calendar and was tasted one fine weekend in Dunkerton, Somerset. And while I can’t speak for its availability in all parts of the world, it seems to be relatively accessible in the UK, Europe and USA – in the range of GBP 55 or so.
The chaps at Master of Malt have this to say… and I’m inclined to agree:
- Nose: Vanilla flowers arrive on the nose first, paired with pear drops and dried mango.
- Palate: Brandied cherry and red rope liquorice. More vanilla, a hint of cinnamon spiciness and Nutella.
- Finish: Chocolate raisins, pineapple and coconut ice.
A lovely start to a most civilized evening of exploring a few drams in Dunkerton.
What other French drams have made their way to our collective tasting adventures?
- Armorik – Breizh 42%, Classic 46%, Double Matured 46%
- AWA Pinot Noire 42%
- Domaine Des Hautes Glace Organic – Les Moissons Single Malt 42%
- Eddu Silver Buckwheat Whisky 40%
- Guillon Banyuls 43%
- Kornog Taourac’h Trived 10 BC (2010) 46%, Kornog Taouarc’h Pempved 14 BC (2014) 46%, Kornog (2013) 58.7% (Auld Alliance)
- Michel Couvreur Special Vatting Malt Whisky 45%
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