How to Differentiate Cognac from Brandy

How to Differentiate Cognac from Brandy

Liquor in the Philippines nowadays has become more diverse in its variety. When you walk along any street, you will always see the most common form of Filipino get-togethers: the inuman.

 Think about it: when you gather around with your friends for any reasons, whether it be a reunion, a celebration, or simply just to hang out with one another, what’s the first thing you can think of doing with them? Drinking. It doesn’t matter what alcoholic beverage is on the table. As long as you and your friends are having a good time with one another, and with your inhibitions loose, your drinking sessions with your friends can bring out the fun in everything, while practicing moderation of course.

Based on the title of what you’re about to read, alcohol is bound to be the star of this piece. In fact, not just any alcoholic beverage, but none other than every man-of-the-hour’s favorites: cognac and brandy.

Cognac is the drink of choice of gentlemen-a-plenty. When one holds a glass of it, it says they have class, charisma, confidence, and pretty much anything that exudes anyone’s macho factor. The same goes with a glass of brandy. When you drink either of them and are able to endure its effects, there’s nothing more sophisticated than that.

A lot of people think that these two beverages are similar to one another. In fact, their similarities are accurate in a lot of ways, may it be in taste, manufacturing, or even alcohol content. However, like other alcoholic beverages, each of them is different and unique in their own ways; and with cognac and brandy, they each have their own aspects that differentiate them from the other.



Manufactured in the town of Cognac in France, this eponymous beverage is known for its flavor and its availability to every gentleman around. If you’ve ever seen a dapper-looking gentleman, dressed in a suit and tie with a glass of this drink in one hand and a cigar in another, then most probably cognac is what’s in their glass.

As mentioned before, there are a lot of similarities with cognac and brandy since they almost taste the same and are made with the same process. However, cognac has its own attributes that differentiate it from brandy.

For instance, cognac isn’t a generic product despite it being given its own name, but it’s rather a category of its beverage of comparison, a brandy. Hence its similarities with one another; cognac is actually a kind of brandy with its own unique flavor and taste. However, while brandy can be distilled from a variety of fruits, cognac is actually distilled from green seedless grapes. There are also various “grades” that cognac is given based on their age and flavor. The grades are:

  • V.S. (Very Special) – a blend with an average of two years left in storage before being released and served.
  • V.S.O.P (Very Superior Old Pale) – a blend with an average of at least four years left in storage before being released and served.
  • X.O. (Extra Old) – a blend with more years in storage, with the youngest being at least six years but the average being twenty years or more.

When it comes to cognac, depending on your taste, you can never go wrong with what grade you choose.



Unlike cognac, brandy is a more diverse kind of beverage. With cognac being a part of its arsenal of offerings, the list of what you can get is endless.

As mentioned before, brandy can be made and distilled from numerous fruits besides grapes. It also undergoes the same ageing process as with any other alcoholic beverage, including cognac. Another thing that differentiates brandy from cognac is that the latter has a strict set of rules before it’s labeled as a drink while the former is known for what it is as soon as it hits the bottles and the shelves.

Much like cognac, it also has a set of “grades” that classify its variety based on its age. The grades are as follows:

  • A. C. – a blend with an average of two years in storage. 
  • V.S. – a blend with an average of three years in storage.
  • V.S.O.P. – a blend with an average of five years in storage.
  • X.O. – a blend with an average of six years in storage.
  • Vintage – a blend that labels the date it was put into the cask before being released.
  • Hors d’age – a blend with an average of ten years or more in storage. The term translates to ‘Too Old to Determine Age.’

World Cognac Day


Key Takeaway

Regardless of any differences and/or similarities these two drinks may have, what they aim for you is nonetheless the same. They aim to promote an enjoyable and relaxing way to have fun and boost your confidence in more ways than one. Either way, always be sure to practice moderation when drinking and be sure to never forget your limits.

This June 4th is World Cognac Day. Go ahead and celebrate it with your friends and loved ones. You can check all our cognac selections by clicking here.

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