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What’s The Difference Between Brandy And Cognac

Is Brandy Better Than Cognac

Cognac, Brandy and Armagnac – Alcohol 101

Because Cognac is a brandy, this question is a moot point. However, most people agree Cognac is finer alcohol than traditional brandy.

Because it goes through such a stringent selection, distillation, and aging process, the quality of this beverage is guaranteed.

It is typically dry and thin, and if you arent a fan of white wine it probably wont be your favorite drink.

On the other hand, brandy can be made by anyone with the means to distill fermented fruit juice. People who prefer sweet alcohol with a wide selection of flavor profiles will likely enjoy brandy.

Understanding Cognac And Brandy

by Happy Harry’s | Feb 26, 2015 | Latest News, Liquor & Cordials |

Brandy refers to any spirit that is distilled from fruit-based wine, though in general it refers to grape wines. Brady can be made from any fruit wine such as pear, plum, or apple as long as it is labeled with the fruit it is made from. The taste of brandy varies depending on the fruit it is made from and its age, but generally they are sweeter than whiskey and taste of flowers, fresh and dried fruit, and citrus zest.

Brandy must be aged in barrels and has different age designations for each level of quality.

VS Brandy must be aged no less than 2 years

VSOP Brandy must be aged no less than 4 years

XO Brandy must be aged no less than 6 years

While older brandies are certainly enjoyable sipped straight, the VS, and in many cases, the VSOP are better off mixed in tall drinks or classic cocktails. Brandy is often mixed with coke, but due to the flavor profile of brandy, it also pairs very well with citrus. Consider trying to mix it with lemonade or a lemon/lime flavored soda.

Some brands are mass produced and kept young and are best mixed regardless of the age designation, such as E& J or Christian Brothers, but there are many smaller brands that are great on their own that are aged much longer. Germain Robin is one such company.

Brandy is also a staple for cooking and is great with desserts. When cooking with brandy, only VS should be used.



When drinking it neat:

So Is Hennessy Brandyand Cognac

It sure is! See, youre getting it now.

Hennessy is overwhelmingly the most popular brand of cognac in the world, accounting for almost half of overall cognac sales and production in the world. Its also an incredibly old brand, with origins reaching back all the way to 1765.

Other cognac brands of note include Remy Martin, Courvoisier, and . If youve listened to rap in the past quarter-century, youve probably heard these names dropped a lotand they are all from the same diminutive region of France. .

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Best For Sipping: Camus Xo Borderies

Region: Cognac, France | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Floral aromas, Figs, Walnuts, Fruit zest, Velvety

Perhaps the greatest cru, or vineyard area, for growing the grapes that are distilled for French brandy is Borderies, an area of the Cognac region. Camus has always specialized in Borderies cru,” says Flavien Desoblin, owner of New Yorks The Brandy Library. “And this brand flagship is the benchmark for the cru.

Bright, floral aromas come through in this brandy, but the palate is far more wintery, fruity, round and mellow. Notes of fig and walnuts balance out the zest. Desoblin, who also describes the texture as quite velvety,” says it’s ideal for sipping without breaking the bank.

What Is The Difference Between Cognac And Brandy

Cognac and Whiskey: What

As many varieties of cognac and brandy look and taste quite similar, it is not surprising that many people do not know the difference between the two. The short answer is that cognac is actually a type of brandy that is produced within a particular region of France. Yet there are more precise differences between cognac and brandy. Manufacture of cognac is governed by laws set by the French government, meaning that all cognacs are made from specified varieties of grapes and follow a prescribed production process. Brandy production, on the other hand, is not regulated by such strict laws, and therefore the ingredients, production process, and resulting quality of brandies can vary widely.

The difference between cognac and brandy begins with the fact that by French law, the name cognac can be given only to those brandies produced in the Cognac region of western France. This geographical requirement is largely due to the fact that the chalky soil in this region imbues the resulting brandy with a unique flavor. Further, cognac must be made primarily from three varieties of grapes: Ugni Blanc, Colombard, and Folle Blanc.

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Best Apple Brandy: Osocalis Apple Brandy

Region: California, USA | ABV: 40% | Tasting Notes: Crushed apple, Orange zest, Vanilla bean

Some apple brandies can be cloying, while some too tart. But this bottle from distiller Dan Farber is the perfect balance between the two. An American brandy pioneer, Farber studied in Cognac and other regions back in the 1980s before he founded Osocalis Distillery in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Desoblin describes this bottle as having a very, very calvados-like nature. In a blind tasting, you would think this is a 20-year-old brandy from Normandy, he says. He likes its blending of richness with vibrant, fruity, crushed-apple aromas, and the many-layered complexity that comes in waves of apple expression.

Best Armagnac: Darroze 40 Year Les Grand Assemblages

Region: Gascony, France | ABV: 43% | Tasting Notes: Nutty, Fruit forward, Bright citrus, Endless finish

Distilled once in a simple column still and less diluted, Gasconys artisanal brandy is richer, more rustic, more texturaland less industrialthan its better-known competitor, cognac. It also often aged much longer, and as Desoblin points out, you can get something really old made in small quantities by real people who are also the farmers, for the fraction of the price of a cognac.

This 40-year-old Armagnac offers very long and intense flavors: nutty, fruity, and citrusy with a rich, seemingly everlasting finish. At less than $200 a bottle, its an amazing gift to yourself, says Desoblin, so go ahead and splurge.

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Do You Know The Difference Between Brandy And Cognac

Do you know the difference between brandy and cognac? These two well-known spirits either share everything in common, or not much at all â depending on how you frame the question.

Confused? Actually itâs quite simple.

Brandy has been made for centuries, anywhere wine is made, and can describe any spirit distilled from fermented fruit juice. The name comes from the Dutch word brandewijn meaning âburnt wineâ, a reference to its distillation with heat.

Many countries have their own national brandy, such as Slivivitz in Poland, made from plums.

Cognac is a type of brandy made from grapes that follows very strict production methods. It is specific to the French region of Cognac, for which the spirit is named.

Compared to other brandies, cognac was quickly recognised for its superior ability to age, the result of high acidity in its grapes.

As such, the Cognac region has been considered the benchmark for brandies worldwide for hundreds of years, and remains so today.

Does Cognac Taste Better With Age


The answer: Unequivocal no, it hasn’t improved or deteriorated Wine’s reputation for delivering dividends with time in bottle has unfairly spilled over into the spirits world. Once sealed in glass, cognac or any other high-alcohol spirit is essentially embalmed. Time itself does not cause the flavour to evolve.

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How Is Brandy Made

Brandy production varies by region, and thus production methods differ as well. Wine brandy is produced using a variety of grape cultivars. A special selection of cultivars, providing a distinctive aroma and character, is used for high-quality brandies, while less expensive brands use whatever wine is available.

Brandy is made from base wine, which significantly differs from regular table wines. The grapes used for brandy are picked early to achieve a higher acid concentration and lower sugar levels. Depending on the brandy style, the yeast sediment produced during fermentation may or may not be kept in the wine.

Is French Brandy The Same As Cognac

French Brandy might be a Cognac, but coming from France doesnt automatically make it one.

French Brandy can be created with any fruit juice using different distillation methods.

If, however, the brandy did not come from the Cognac area, was not distilled correctly, or aged for at least two years in French Oak barrels, then it is not a Cognac.

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Brandy Vs Cognac: Whats The Difference

Cognac is a subset of brandy that distills white wine twice over, creating a luxurious French liquor. While the spirit is aging, they are sometimes referred to as eau de vie, which translates to water of life.

If you think back to Geometry class, you may recall the phrase All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. This thought-provoking conditional statement can be translated directly to the world of Cognac and Brandy. The new statement might read, All Cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is Cognac.

In fact, most brandy is not Cognac brandy is only required to be made from fermented fruit juice, not grapes. Common alternate fruits used for brandy include apples and pears. The aging process also plays a big role in classification brandy is held to the same strict aging requirements as Cognac.

Read on for more info on the defining characteristics and differences between Cognac and other forms of brandy. À ta santé!

Can You Use Cognac Instead Of Brandy For Cooking Or Baking


Brandy and Cognac are readily interchangeable when it comes to cooking, so there is no problem substituting one for the other in a recipe. However, keep in mind that Cognac is a premium Brandy. Dont reach for a bottle of Martell X.O. to flambe your crepes! When it comes to cooking and cocktails, you can usually get away with a V.S. or V.S.O.P. Cognac, but you might want to use an X.O. Brandy.

Like cooking with wine, the quality of the alcohol you use will affect the flavor of the dish you are making, especially when using it for sauces. If you cant bear to drink it, dont cook with it!

When substituting brandy for Cognac in a cocktail, be sure you use a traditional brandy made from grapes rather than a fruit brandy. Fruit brandy will have a different flavor profile and may spoil the balance of the cocktail recipe.

Classic Brandy Cocktails

  • Vieux Carre Cognac, Rye whiskey, Red vermouth, Benedictine, Peychaud bitters, Angostura bitters
  • Brandy Alexander Cognac, Creme de Cacao, Pouring Cream
  • Sidecar- Cognac, Lemon juice, Triple Sec

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How Is Cognac Different From Brandy

Cognacs follow a strict regulation implied by the Appellation dOrigine Contrôlée in France. The main ingredients of Cognac must come from a very specific region in Cognac, France.

On the other hand, brandy does not have a limitation on this. Moreover, the two spirits differ in distillation, aging process, tasting notes, and originating regions.

Cognac Vs Brandy: What Are The Differences

How well do you know your liquor? Can you tell cognac from brandy? Not so sure? Dont feel bad. Even the most seasoned of imbibers get confused by these two terms, often used interchangeably. While its true that cognac and brandy are both types of wine, their flavors are dramatically different. While cognac is made in the Armagnac region of France, brandy can be produced from anywhere in the world, not just California .

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Got It But Then Whats Cognac Exactly

All cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is cognac.

Since brandy is such a broad term for fermenting fruit juices, there are naturally an invariable amount of subsets of liquor inside that general framework. Cognac is one of themand likely the most well known.

Cognac is specifically created in the Cognac region, in the Charente and Charente-Maritime departments, of Southwest France. If it doesnt originate there, it isnt real cognac. But, there are even more qualifications that the spirit must uphold to be considered true cognac.

First, the fruit juice base must originate from white grapes of one of six different terroirs, but primarily, the main grape used is called ugni blanc. Cognac then goes through two separate rounds of distillation: it begins sometime in October or early November and is legally required to end by March 31. If you finish your distilling process after midnight on March 31, youve got invalid cognac on your soiled hands.

Despite the apparent specificity, there are three separate qualifications of cognac, marked by symbols you’ll often see on bottles and barrels, based around aging:

  • VS: Very Special, a cognac thats aged for at least two years
  • VSOP: Very Superior Old Pale, a cognac that’s aged for at least four years.
  • XO: Extra Old, a cognac that has aged six years, or more.

Bottom line: Cognac is a type of brandy made from distilled white wine, made in one, very specific, region of France.

Where Is Brandy Produced

VS, VSOP, XO in Brandy – What Does It Mean?

In France, the most famous Brandy producers are Cognac Houses: Hennessy, Martell or Rémy Martin. But there are also small producers such as Maison Painturaud Frères that also produced Pineaux des Charentes. In the USA, Brandy is essentially made in California. Major brands of brandy are Christian Brothers, E & J Gallo, Korbel et Paul Masson. In Portugal, the most famous brandy is the CR& F also called agua ardente. In India, companies selling most brandies are McDowells No.1, Mansion House Brandy, Old Admiral, Honey Bee, Mens Club Brandy. In Brazil, there is the brand Deher.

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Distillation & Production Process

Both Cognac and brandy undergo the distillation and production process, but each liquors production and distilling process varies.

Cognac is considered a brandy because it is a distilled spirit from fermented fruit juice. It is required to be distilled twice in pot stills or special alembics .

On the other hand, brandy is distilled twice but first with a heated gourd, then a glass gourd in a double boiler.

The modern brandy is now distilled twice but with modern techniques and materials.

How Does Cognac Taste

And last, but by no means least, when it comes to taste, Cognac is more subtle and gentle, while Armagnac is considered to be more complex and robust. It’s also higher in alcohol Cognac must be at least 40% ABV and Armagnac is typically between 46 to 48% ABV.mmm… A Cognac tasting would be nice, you say? Funny, we thought so, too…

By the way, for the true lovers of the Spirit, Flaviar offers Cognac-themed subscription boxes with hard-to-find brands.

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Are There Other Types Of Brandy With Specific Names

Most definitely. Brandy is made all over the world, and just like cognac, brandy from different countries and regions have their own names and particularities. Here are some of the more well-known varieties you may come across, aside from cognac.

  • Calvados: an apple-based brandy from the Normandy region of France
  • Grappa: an Italian, grape-based brandy that is considered a pomace brandy, which just means they traditionally use wine left over from winemaking, after the grapes have been pressed.
  • Pisco: a clear, Peruvian brandy made by fermenting white grape juice.
  • Armagnac: this is basically cognacs forgotten younger sibling. Its incredibly close to cognac, in both taste, and location . The only real difference is, well, prestige. The Cognac region is traditionally viewed as producing better spirits. Though some modern drinkers disagree.

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Why Is Cognac So Sweet

FoodFriend: What is the differences between brandy and whiskey?

All cognacs are distilled and aged in the same way, but it’s the length of aging that makes the difference. VS must be aged at least two years in Limousin oak with that little time in wood, the result is often fruit-forward and sweet. Due to its youthfulness, the alcohol can burn a bit on the back of the throat.

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What Makes These Spirits Derived From Distilled Wine Actually Differentand Also The Same

Cognac and brandy are the kinds of spirits that your grandfather and/or Fetty Wap might sip by the fire on a chilly winter eve, or guzzle posted up in a bando settin goals and talkin matchin Lambos, respectively.

Youve probably tasted both cognac and brandy, even if you dont realize it. Hell, you might be holding a bottle of Hennessy in your hand at this very moment. But chances are you dont actually know the real difference between brandy and cognac. If you did, you likely wouldnt have clicked into this article that very clearly promises to detail the differences.

Cognac and brandytwo silky, smooth, pungent, and traditionally refined spirits made from distilling wineare not the same thing. But, well, they kind of are.

We know its confusing. Please, pour yourself a glass, and let us explain.

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