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Sep 26, 2013 01:09 PM

French single malt - who knew?

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.

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

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    4 Replies
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      Interesting. Who sells it in the Boston area?

      1. re: BobB

        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

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

        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Based on a rec from our local wine shop, I bought their version for my husband's birthday, yesterday. DH loved it (I enjoyed it too though I'm not a scotch drinker). The rec was based on the fact that the salesperson knew my husband was a fan of the now discontinued Johnnie Walker Double Black (he also likes Laphroaig & countless others; Macallan not so much).

          My notes fwiw: supple, velvety, some sherry, not too sweet, not smokey. And here's the store's writeup:

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: DavidT

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

              2. 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.