Difference Between Brandy and Cognac

Main Difference – Brandy vs Cognac

Brandy is a general term for a distilled spirit made from fermented wine. Cognac is a type of brandy, which is exclusively produced in the Cognac region of France. Therefore, the main difference between Brandy and Cognac is that brandy is produced in many countries of the world whereas Cognac is only made in France.

What is Brandy

Brandy is a kind of alcoholic beverage made from distilling wine. While grape wine is widely used in brandy production, wine made from other fruits too can be used to produce wine. Some types of brandies are aged in wooden barrels while some are colored with caramel coloring to replicate the effect of aging. Some brandies are produced by using a combination of both coloring and aging. Brandy contains about 35–60% alcohol by volume.

Brandy is taken as an after-dinner drink and is traditionally served at room temperature. It is also used in different culinary applications. It is commonly used as a deglazing liquid in making pan sauces for steak and other meat. It is also added to some soups to get an intense flavor. Brandy is also commonly used as a flavoring in traditional foods such as Christmas cake and Christmas pudding.Difference Between Brandy and Cognac

What is Cognac

Cognac is a type of brandy, which is produced in the Cognac region of France. Cognac manufacturers must follow certain regulations in order for their product to be named as Cognac. Cognac is only produced in France; only six different wine growing regions are authorized to produce Cognac. They are Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires.

The white wine used to produce Cognac is very dry, thin, and acidic; however, it is excellent for distillation and aging. This wine is made from a variety of grapes, but it must contain at least 90% of Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche, and Colombard. Then this fermented wine is double-distilled in a copper pot still.  The aging process is done in Limousine or Tronçais oak casks. It must be kept in these casks for at least two years. Cognac is always blended, and the age of cognac is determined from the youngest component used in the blend. 

There are three official quality brands of Cognac named V.S., V.S.O.P., and X.O.

V.S.  (“Very Special” or “Three Stars”) denotes a blend in which the youngest Brandy has been stored for at least two years in cask.
V.S.O.P.  (“Very Superior Old Pale”) denotes a blend in which the youngest Brandy is stored for at least four years in a cask, but the average wood age is much older.
X.O. (“Extra Old”)  denotes a blend in which the youngest Brandy is stored for at least six years.Main Difference - Brandy vs Cognac

Difference Between Brandy and Cognac


Brandy is a kind of alcoholic beverage made from distilling wine.

Cognac is a type of brandy, which is produced in the Cognac region of France.


Brandy is produced in many countries of the world.

Cognac is produced in the Cognac region of France.

Main Ingredient

Brandy is made from distilled wine.

Cognac is produced from white wine made by Ugni blanc.


Brandy is aged in wooden casks.

Cognac is aged in Limousine or Tronçais oak casks.


Brandy is distilled in pot stills or column stills.

Cognac is double-distilled in a copper pot still. Difference Between Brandy and Cognac- infographic

Image Courtesy:

“CAMUS CUVEE 3 128 CARAFE+GLASSES FOND NOIR“ von Misssoleil – Eigenes Werk. über

“Cognac glass” by Didier Descouens – Own work. via

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