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Cognac & Brandy are Perfect for Year-Round Enjoyment

Cognac is one of the world's most famous kinds of Brandy, but it is far from the only one. The world of brandy is a lot larger than it often gets credit for. To understand all that it has to offer—and to take a deeper dive into the world of Cognac in particular—let's explore it all.

What is the difference between Cognac and brandy?

What is brandy? By definition, brandy is any spirit distilled from the juice of a fruit. There are many examples of brandy distilled from wine, making them a unique expression of specific grapes. Still, plenty of brandy is distilled from the juice of other fruits, including apples (the famous Calvados of France), blackberry brandy, and plum brandy (the most famous type of plum brandy) slivovitz), Poire Williams, which is made from pears, and many excellent others. The most noted brandy is Cognac, yet many people remain unclear on what it exactly is. So: What is Cognac? And what is Cognac made from? Cognac is a brandy produced in the Cognac region of France, where wine made from Ugni Blanc, Colombard, and Folle Blanche grapes is distilled twice, always in copper pot stills, and aged for at least two years in barrels made of French oak.

Is Cognac a whiskey?

No, Cognac is not a whiskey. Whiskey is distilled from grain, whereas Cognac is distilled from grape wine. Brandy can never be whiskey, and vice versa, since their constituent ingredients are always different: Grain for whiskey and fruit for brandy.

What does Cognac taste like?

Depending on the brand and grape blend, which part of the Cognac region it's from, and its age designation, Cognac has a delicious range of expression when tasted. However, Cognac generally boasts flavors of fruit (sometimes orchard fruit like apples and pears, or stone fruit like apricots, or dried fruit like white raisins and figs), spice (tasters commonly found vanilla), and occasional notes of tobacco and more earthy characteristics.

What do those letters on the bottle mean?

You'll notice that Cognac bottles tend to be adorned with an entire alphabet's worth of letters. What do they mean? VS means "Very Special," and that the Cognac has been aged for the two-year minimum under the law. VSOP, or "Very Superior Old Pale," means that the youngest spirit in the blend of brandies is at least four years of age. XO, or "Extra Old," tells you that, within the blend of brandies comprising that particular Cognac, the youngest has been aged for at least 10 years.

What are the best brands of Cognac?

There are many top Cognac producers, but among the best are Hennessey, Remy Martin, Louis XIII (which is produced by Remy Martin), and Dusee.

Browse our full selection of Cognac & Brandy online or check out our selection of highly-rated Cognac & Brandy for a great new Cognac & Brandy to try this week!

Want to learn more about Cognac & Brandy?

Visit our Guide to Cognac & Brandy to learn more about Cognac & Brandy.