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Difference Between Brandy and Cognac

Brandy vs Cognac

If you are a teetotaler the words brandy and cognac probably mean nothing to you, but if you consume alcoholic drinks, and in fact, are a connoisseur, you can easily differentiate between a brandy and a cognac, though technically speaking, a cognac is a type of brandy itself. There are many who remain confused because the brand cognac has become so popular that it threatens to be identified on its own apart from brandy, which it is. This is similar to the case of Hoover in US, where it has become so popular that the brand has become a synonym for vacuum cleaner. Let us find out differences, if any, between brandy, and cognac.

Before we go into details of brandy and cognac, it makes an interesting story to know a bit about brandy itself. In 16th century, there was roaring business of wine going on between France and Holland. However, it was very expensive as there was limited space on cargo vessels as they were mostly war vessels. To send full casks of wine proved extremely costly for the traders. One Dutch shipmaster got a brilliant idea as he burnt wine, and made it concentrated removing most of the water. This soul of the wine allowed him more to be transported in the same space. Surprisingly, Dutch people liked the taste of this burnt wine so much that they insisted him not to put back water into it. This is how the beverage became popular, and later got known as brandy or burnt wine.

Coming back to the topic, Cognac is nothing else, but brandy, which is a generic name for burnt wine. Cognac is an area in France where this particular brandy is made and has become popular in all parts of the world because of its rich taste and aroma. May be it has to do with the fertile soil of the region or the method of processing the brandy. Though brandy is made in areas outside cognac also, it is referred to as brandy and not Cognac. Cognac essentially is a spirit distilled from wine (or fermented from juice), and aged in wooden casks for a minimum period of 6 months. You are not wrong if you call a Cognac a brandy, but you have to remember that not all brandy is Cognac, and only that produced in the French region of Cognac is referred to as Cognac.

What is the difference between Brandy and Cognac?

• Brandy is a corrupted word that comes from Dutch brandjiwin that literally means burnt wine.

• Cognac is an area in France, which is famous for its brandy that is also called Cognac.

• Thus, Cognac is a type of brandy

• Though brandy is produced in many other countries as well, it is brandy produced in Cognac alone that is called Cognac.


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