What is Brandy?
Is Cognac a Brandy?
So yes, being produced by distilling Wine, Cognac is a type of Brandy, only a very specific one.
What is the difference between Cognac and Brandy?
And while apple-based Calvados from Normandy, Spanish Brandy, Italian Grappa and other regional varieties are very popular around Flaviar headquarters, we’re going to focus on the French Wine Brandy brotherhood this time that go by the names of Cognac and Armagnac.
If Cognac is Beyonce, Armagnac is Solange
Armagnac is less famous of the two Brandies, but equally good and has a group of very dedicated fans.
Although the production of Armagnac started about 200 years earlier than Cognac, it never achieved the same level of fame. Very much due to the fact that its home region didn't have good river and sea connections to reach the English and Dutch merchants in the past like Cognac did.
Cognac vs. Armagnac
Speaking of it, the main difference between Cognac and Armagnac is also known as the golden rule of real estate: Location, location, location.
Where do they come from?
Only a Wine Brandy produced in Cognac region can be called Cognac, while Armagnac must be from the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France.
Both Cognac and Armagnac regions are divided further into smaller areas - Crus de Cognac - that have great influence on the characteristics of the grapes grown there (and therefore the drink).
There are, of course, a few other things specific to their production that distinguish Cognac and Armagnac:
What are the key ingredients?Nearly all Cognac is made of the grape variety called Ugni Blanc (Trebbiano). The same type of grapes is also used for Armagnac, but there are three other varieties that are equally common. All of them are white grapes.
How is Cognac made?
What about the Aging of Cognac?
Due to its distillation method, Armagnac is on average aged longer than Cognac – 10 years and more.
With very few exceptions, Cognac will always be blended. While Armagnac can be blended, unblended Vintage Armagnac is also very common. In both cases, the age indicated on the label is that of the youngest drink in the blend.
Can you blend Cognac?
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.
How to drink Cognac?
Cognac on ice is served in a large tumbler glass, with room for two ice cubes. As a simple mixer with ice, use a long drink glass with many ice cubes.
How to pair Cognac with food?
And, of course, it’s a big deal in the cocktail world. Before we move on, learn more about Cognac food pairings.
How should you drink them?
They also make great Sazeracs or Old Fashioneds, and can easily replace other base ingredients in classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, Tom Collins, a Mint Julep or even a Mojito.
So, which bottles should you buy?
Speaking of buying – indeed, you do not have to spend a lot of money for a good bottle! Browse our selection of best Cognacs under $100! Alternatively and even more budget-friendly is our selection of best Cognacs under $50!