Brandy poured from bottle into glass with a coiled rope in the background
Cognac Vs Brandy: What's The Difference?
Just like bourbon is a type of whiskey, cognac is a type of brandy, and although the two spirits are closely related, brandy and cognac are different in important ways.
Brandy is a broad category of alcohol, including subcategories like pisco, grappa, and cognac, a brandy that is specifically made in the French region Cognac.
Brandy is defined as any spirit distilled from fruits like grapes, apples, and pears by condensing alcohol through evaporation to increase the alcohol by volume to above 15%.
While unaged brandy exists, it's most often barrel-aged for two, four, or six years, labeled Very Special, Very Superior Old Pale, or Extra Old, respectively.
Like Champagne only comes from France’s Champagne region, Cognac only comes from the Cognac region and is made according to specific guidelines set by the French government.
Cognac is made from grapes, specifically the ugni blanc varietal which is highly acidic, low in alcohol, and dry. It's double-distilled to enhance the flavor.
Then, Cognac must be barrel-aged for two years with boise, a tar-like substance for a woody taste. After aging, many vintages are blended to create a consistent final product.