Difference Between Cognac and Whiskey

Cognac vs Whiskey

Whiskey and cognac are alcoholic beverages consumed by millions of people around the world. Both are aged beverages and very smooth to consume. However, there similarities end here and differences begin. There are people who remain confused between cognac and whiskey as both are fermented alcoholic drinks. However, there are many differences between them pertaining to ingredients as well as manufacturing processes that will be highlighted in this article.


Cognac is a kind of brandy originating from a wine producing area known by the same name. In fact, lovers of cognac refuse to accept it as a brandy, but the fact remains that it is the finest of brandies produced around the word. Brandy is made by fermentation and distillation of grapes, but the process that is used to make cognac is typical and unless it is followed, the alcoholic beverage remains a simple brandy. There are French laws pertaining to the type of grapes used to manufacture cognac as well as the steps to be followed to make this brandy. It is a rigid tradition that is being followed for the last 300 years, to maintain the exclusivity of the brandy being produced in Cognac.

To be called cognac, the brandy has to make use of at least 90% of a particular variety of grapes called Ugni Blanc, Colombard, or Folle Blanche. This is not all as the drink is distilled two times in still pots and has to be stored for a period of two years, to be labeled as authentic Cognac. However, there are many varieties of Cognac emanating from Cognac area of France with differences in flavor, aroma, intensity, and the warmth. Cognac remains the mother of all brandies for the last few centuries.

Whiskey or Whisky

Whiskey is the most popular of alcoholic drinks around the world that is made from fermentation and distillation of grain. Many different grains are utilized for making whiskeys though ones made from barley are most common. Whiskey is aged in casks and barrels for years before they become ready for consumption. Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage that has been known to mankind since ages as it was called water of life in ancient Rome.

While whiskey is made in all parts of the world, the one emanating from Scotland is called Scotch whisky or simply Scotch. Interestingly, Scottish people refer to their whisky as simply whisky while the world refers to it as Scotch whisky. In US, the spelling of the beverage is whiskey while, in UK and many other countries, the spelling becomes whisky.

Cognac vs Whiskey

• Whiskey is the alcoholic drink made from grains whereas Cognac is the alcoholic drink made from grapes.

• Cognac is a type of brandy. In fact, many label it as the finest of brandies.

• Cognac is the brandy originating from a wine producing region of France called Cognac.

• While a cognac is considered an after dinner beverage that is intended to digest food, there is no such stereotyping of whiskey that can be consumed anytime of the day.

• Whiskey is taken with either water or soda whereas no water is added to cognac.

• It is difficult to compare cognac and whiskey as both belong to different types of alcoholic beverages.