Brandy vs Cognac: Difference and Comparison

People consume alcoholic drinks for relaxation. There are many types of liquor like Brandy, wine, beer, vodka, etc. are available worldwide which indeed intoxicating, but good when consumed within a prescribed limit.

Brandy is a liquor made of distilled wine, and cognac is a variety of brandy. Cognac is one of the most classic types of brandy.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cognac is a specific type of brandy produced in the Cognac region of France, while brandy can be made anywhere in the world.
  2. Cognac must be made from Ugni Blanc grapes and aged in French oak barrels, whereas brandy can be made from various fruit juices and aged in different types of barrels.
  3. Cognac is considered a higher-quality and more expensive spirit than other brandies.

Brandy vs Cognac

The difference between brandy and cognac is that brandy is made by distilling wine, while cognac is made by distilling grape wine twice. And while brandy can be made anywhere in the world, cognac is only made in the Cognac region of France. All the cognac is brandy, but all brandies are not cognac.

Brandy vs Cognac

Brandy is a liquor that is made by distilling wine which normally contains 35% to 60% of alcohol.

Brandy is served at room temperature, neat, and added to many other drinks to make cocktails. The history of brandy goes as far as the 15th century. It is preserved for years to make it tastier.

Cognac is a type of brandy that is made by distilling the wine twice, and it is formed from grapes grown in a particular region.

Cognac is specially made from grapes from a particular region. It is also preserved for years to make it more loving and tasty. At a minimum, it is aged for 2 years before selling it to the public.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBrandyCognac
DefinitionBrandy is a liquor made by distilling spirit made from fermented fruits.Cognac is made of grapes that are grown in a particular region of France.
DistillationIt is distilled once.Cognac is distilled twice.
Distilled In?Brandy is distilled in pot stills and column stills.Cognac is distilled in copper pot stills.
Aged Brandy is aged in wooden casks.Cognac is aged in oak barrels or Limousine or Troncais.
ExamplesCognac, Armagnac, pisco, Italian Stravecchio, etc.Cognac is a type of brandy.

What is Brandy?

Brandy is a type of liquor. It is made by distilling wine or fruits. There are almost 35% to 60% of alcohol in brandy.

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Brandy is mostly taken in neat or mixed with other beverages to make cocktails. Brandy is also known as Eau De Vie, which means “water of life”.

Brandy is made by blending and ageing in different styles. The ageing is done for years, the more the ageing, the finer it tastes. Some brandies have caramel color and sugar added to them to imitate ageing.

The ageing is done in two types, one is done by putting the unaged brandy in a wooden cask or oak barrel for years, and the second is done by putting the brandy in different wooden casks over time.

Every year the oak barrel is changed. This system of changing barrels each year is called the Solera system.

Brandy is mostly consumed at room temperature, and many times the glass is heated a bit, too, as a warm brandy increases its aroma. The alcohol vapour of the brandy becomes strong when it is heated, and therefore it becomes more overpowering.

The most famous types of brandy are cognac, Armagnac, Christian Brothers, Paul Masson, etc.


What is Cognac?

Cognac is a type of brandy. Cognac is one of the most famous types of brandy in the world which is made in a particular region. It comes from Southwest France, and the area is known as the superior terroir.

They are made special because of the soil, climate, and topography the grapes are grown in. Indeed, the brandy is known after the commune of Cognac, France.

The Cognac is distilled twice than normal brandy in copper pot stills and then blended and aged to make it better. It is aged for two years minimum, but the longer it is ageing, the more it tastes better.

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Mostly the most famous cognac is made from special grapes known as Ugni Blanc, which are also known as Saint-Emilion.

The cognac is a colorless spirit that has at least 70% of alcohol before it is put into wooden casks, but with aging, it loses 3% of alcohol percentage and water each year.

White wine is also used in making cognac which is very dry, acidic, and thin. There are six grades of cognac brandy: VS, VSOP, XO, XXO, Napoleon, and Horsdage.

The VS or three stars are aged for almost two years, VSOP is aged for three years and XXO is aged for at least 14 years.


Main Differences Between Brandy And Cognac

  1. Brandy is a wine distilled once, while cognac is distilled twice.
  2. Brandy can be made all over the world while on the other hand Cognac is made by grapes coming from a particular region.
  3. Brandy is made from fermented fruit juice or grapes or fruits, while cognac is made from white grapes.
  4. Brandy is aged in wooden casks, while cognac is aged in oak casks, Limousine or Troncais.
  5. Brandy is distilled in pot stills or column stills, while on the other hand, cognac is twice distilled in a copper pot still.
Difference Between Brandy and Cognac

Last Updated : 18 August, 2023

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13 thoughts on “Brandy vs Cognac: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article does a commendable job in highlighting the key differences between brandy and cognac, while also providing detailed insights into their production methods and historical significance.

  2. I appreciate the detailed explanation of the differences between brandy and cognac. It really sheds light on how each of them is made and the characteristics that set them apart.

  3. The detailed descriptions of brandy and cognac are incredibly enlightening. I particularly appreciate the emphasis on the aging and distillation processes. It’s impressive how meticulous the production of these spirits can be.

    • This article provides a comprehensive overview of brandy and cognac. The emphasis on the distillation methods and regional aspects of cognac is particularly informative.

    • The discussion on how aging affects the taste of brandy and cognac is truly fascinating. I never realized the extent to which these processes contribute to the flavor profiles of these spirits.

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  5. I found the historical context and the detailed comparison of brandy and cognac to be particularly enlightening. This article has definitely enhanced my understanding of these spirits.

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  7. The comparison between brandy and cognac is incredibly informative. I had no idea about the differences in their distillation and aging processes. This has really expanded my knowledge on the topic.

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  8. The historical background of brandy and cognac is intriguing. It’s fascinating to learn about the origins and evolution of these spirits over time.

  9. The comparison table and the detailed descriptions have made it much easier to comprehend the disparities between brandy and cognac. It’s a well-structured and informative piece.

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