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French single malt - who knew?

BobB Sep 26, 2013 01:09 PM

An acquaintance who knows far more about adult beverages than I (he's actually a fourth-generation fine wine shop owner) recently introduced me to Brenne, a single malt whiskey from the Cognac region of France. It's aged in cognac barrels, giving it unusual characteristics. It's quite unlike Scotch (no peat or smoke), but very smooth and rich - you can definitely taste the cognac.

I usually drink single malt as a before-dinner libation, and have cognac (or these days, more often armagnac) after the meal. But this tastes like it would work well in either role.


  1. EvergreenDan Sep 26, 2013 01:20 PM

    Try Michel Couvreur. Scotch imported to France, aged, and bottled. Some are very smokey.

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    3 Replies
    1. re: EvergreenDan
      BobB Sep 26, 2013 01:23 PM

      Interesting. Who sells it in the Boston area?

      1. re: BobB
        EvergreenDan Sep 26, 2013 06:58 PM

        I've seen it at Cambridge Wine & Spirits (Alewife, next to Whole Paycheck) and at Lower Falls Wine in Newton. It is imported by a MA company.

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      2. re: EvergreenDan
        BillB656 Oct 18, 2013 11:56 AM

        +1 for the Couvreur. I still have a lone bottle (1/2 left) of a single-single from my Boston days.

      3. k
        kagemusha49 Sep 26, 2013 02:14 PM

        Hmm, the port wine aged Glenmorangie is certainly enhanced by the wood and there is a long tradition of ageing spirits in wine barrels, So, I guess a cognac aged malt whiskey would be worth trying. Any idea of pricing for this tipple?

        1 Reply
        1. re: kagemusha49
          BobB Sep 27, 2013 02:53 PM

          About $60 a bottle.

        2. yarm Sep 26, 2013 06:15 PM

          We have this at work (Russell House Tavern, Cambridge, MA) and it is good especially with the Cognac barrel notes giving some roundness and fruit-driven warmth. Not all Scotches are smokey so this isn't all out of place in the realm of single malts (although I think most Scotches have some degree of smokiness to them).


          1. d
            DavidT Sep 26, 2013 07:05 PM

            Does anyone know if they use barley grown in France or if they import barley from Scotland?

            1 Reply
            1. re: DavidT
              sku Sep 26, 2013 08:06 PM

              The barley is French from the same farm where the whisky is distilled.

            2. ipsedixit Sep 26, 2013 07:52 PM

              I tried both Brenne and Armorik at Flatiron Room in Manhattan and really did not care for them.

              If I'm going outside of Scotland, I think, actually, I know my first choice would be Japanese.

              1. JMF Sep 27, 2013 07:32 PM

                I thought the Brenne is very good. A bit different from what you would, expect so it throws some people off. I've met the owner several times and had quite a few bottles to sip from.

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