Cognac vs Armagnac
When it comes to French alcohol based beverages, Cognac is one brandy that rules the roost. It is a world famous brandy that originates in a wine producing region called cognac in Northeastern France. There is another related product called Armagnac that may not be so popular outside France, but is loved by tourists and also by French people. Cognac and Armagnac are brandies that are very similar but retain their unique characteristics based upon differences in soils and climates where they produce. Let us find out these differences.
Cognac is both a famous brandy as well as a wine producing region in France. In fact, any brandy to be labeled cognac, it must be produced with a certain type of grapes (Ugni Blanc) referred to as Saint Emilion in this region of France. It also needs to be double distilled in copper pots and then aged for minimum two years in barrels made of oak. Cognac matures just like whiskies and is very popular around the world.
After extracting juices from the grapes, it is fermented with yeast for 15-20 days so that the sugar gets converted into alcohol. Distillation of the brandy is then carried out to increase the alcohol content from 7-8% to about 70%. Finally, it is left to age in oak barrels.
Armagnac is a brandy coming out of a region called Armagnac in southern France. It is made from Armagnac grapes and is distilled once in column stills before it is aged in oak barrels. Armagnac is older than Cognac but, having been produced by small distilleries, it is relatively lesser known outside France. Armagnac is believed to be the oldest spirit coming out of Europe.
What is the difference between Cognac and Armagnac?
• Cognac and Armagnac are different brandies coming out of France from areas that are just 200km away and have different soils and climates.
• Cognac is made from a different grape variety than Armagnac and is double distilled whereas Armagnac is distilled just once.
• Armagnac is not popular outside France and, in most of the countries where French brandy is consumed, it is Cognac that is preferred over other brandies.
• Armagnac is older of the two brandies, but it is Cognac that is more popular.
• Cognac has a softer flavor having been distilled twice.
• Armagnac is a region that is warm and sandy whereas Cognac is a region that is cooler and has a chalky soil.