Looking back at when it started - going to Cognac to make a whisky sounds counter intuitive at first given what the region is known for. It's proven to be an amazing thing for you. How did that come around?
I was always intending to make whisky in France, the specifics of where were open to the right opportunities.
You are quite forward in talking about how it’s possible to show terroir though single malt whisky, which is now become one of the hot topics in the category. How does the idea of terroir manifest itself in the flavour profile of Brenne?
In so many ways! 100% of our ingredients are local; from the heirloom barley we grow to the local water we source, even to the extraordinary (& incredibly expensive!) local French limousine oak we use for maturing our whisky.
When you try Brenne, you are struck with the bold fruit notes, the creamy vanilla taste, and the delicate floral notes that are so smooth you might forget you’re actually sipping a whisky. There is no other spirit that tastes like Brenne and our uniquely smooth & delicious profile has to do with the quality of ingredients we choose.
As you say, it's a product of its region in many ways. At what point did you start to mature whisky in Cognac casks and did it take some convincing to get your partner distillery onboard with the idea when you first began?
I started pretty quickly and while he was curious about my idea at first, he jumped right in with me and we’re so thankful we did!
Do you remember what it felt like when you launched at the time – were you nervous, were you confident and how did it go?
I was terrified. I assumed I would be laughed out of every door I entered. Most brands that were early to make Single Malts in the world whisky space (aka: outside of Scotland) were keen to produce products that tasted nearly identical to Scotch, with some even using some Scotch in their own products.
Brenne was not only different because of where it was made (and who was making it, hi!), but also because of our truly unique taste profile. Mixologists got it right away and were fast to adopt Brenne into cocktails, celebrating the bright fruit and vanilla notes, thank goodness!