What is the difference between Cognac and Brandy

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     Cognac Prunier 20 Years Old          Brandy St Agnes 20 Years Old 

All cognacs are brandies, but all brandies are not cognacs.

         

Let's highlight the difference in 3 main points:

 

1: The AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée)

The term brandy refers to all wine-based spirits, indifferently as to its origin (France, Spain, Australia…) and mode of production.

Cognac is a registered designation of origin (AOC) which means it is a brandy made of wines exclusively produced in the Cognac Delimited Region, mainly in the Charente and Charente-Maritime departments.

Only five white grape varieties are allowed for the preparation of Cognac : Colombard, Folle Blanche, Montils, Ugni Blanc and Sémillon, but the most widely planted is Ugni Blanc.

Cognac gets its name from the city of Cognac

 

2: The method of elaboration

The difference between Cognac and brandy also lies in the production process.

Cognac is subject to relatively restrictive specifications.

The distillation is performed in a two-stage process (the Charentaise method) in copper pot stills. The ageing is also essential for an eau-de-vie to be sold as Cognac. It must be aged for a minimum of 2 years in French oak barrels.

Whereas Brandy’s minimum ageing time is only 6 months and the method of distillation is not controlled.

 

3: The taste

The last difference between Cognac and Brandy is substantial : the taste. There is no need to be an expert to feel the difference between the two, since a disparity exists in the colour, scents and complexity of the aromatic flavours in these two products.

 

Conclusion:

Even if Brandy and Cognac are part of the same family, their production is different, the quality and the method of elaboration are clearly different. As a result, Cognac can be defined as the excellence of the French tradition’s know-how.

Nevertheless some brandies, made with great care and rigor can get closer to a good Cognac.

Now it's up to you to choose which of these two spirits you will prefer.

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