Whisky and cognac are a great category in drinks. Some prefer whiskey, while some prefer cognac. However, you can identify which is which from the label once you know certain key ingredients.
Its not uncommon for many people to mix up the brands/Category(s) of what they drink. Most people walk into bars, clubs or wine stores and just place an order for the most popular drink, not knowing what it is they are actually consuming, the health benefits and how their body system may react to each category of alcohol.
First thing first is to know that Whiskey is made from fermented grains, while cognac is made from fermented grapes
Whiskey is the main category into which bourbon and Scotch both fall. Whiskey is a distilled spirit that is made from grain. All other distilled liquors are made from other sources. For example, brandy comes from grapes.
Whiskey makers use malted barley or other grains to make the spirit. They soak the grains in hot water to release the sugars and then add yeast to ferment the sugar into alcohol. Finally, they distill the liquor and age it in barrels.
Whiskey can be made anywhere in the world. Although the Scots spell theirs without the ‘e’. So if you’re drinking a ‘Whisky’, this has been made in Scotland.
When it comes to ones age-specific Whisky, they simply add the age in numbers, say 10 or 15 years.
Cognac is French brandy which is made from special grapes that are grown in the specified region of Cognac (from where it gets its name) in France. It is distilled in pot stills and must be at least 40% proof. It has to meet certain legal requirements in production methods known as Appellation d’origine contrôlée.
One major difference between brandy and Cognac is that brandy is distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice while cognac is a French brandy which is made from special grapes grown in Cognac.
Cognacs( eg Hennessy, Remy Martin) are usually expensive as they are higher quality brandy distilled from special grapes while brandy are usually on the cheaper side. The price of brandy is in line with how long it has been aged for. Cognacs are expensive because of the distillation and aging process that follows its production. So next time you hit the club or bar, depending on your pocket size now you know which brand or drink category to settle for.
Cognac uses terminologies such as VS (Very Special – aged at least 2 years), VSOP (Very Special Old Pale – aged at least 4 years), and XO (Extra Old – aged more than 6 years) to determine the age.