- Cognac comes from the region of the same name in southwestern France and is an alcoholic brandy made from white wine.
- Depending on how long the brandy has aged in the barrels, cognac is attributed to one of these three maturity levels: Extra Old (X.O.), Very Superior Old Pale (V.S.O.P.) and Very Special (V.S.).
- The maturation time and the storage in different barrels shape the nuances of cognac. From fruity sweetness to tobacco and leather notes, the brandy offers a complex spectrum for the palate. A drink for connoisseurs.
Gentlemen sitting on massive leather armchairs in a library – holding a cigar in one hand while sipped with pleasure on the drink is: This is the picture that most people associate with the spirit cognac. An outdated image.
Even if, according to Statista, cognac is not one of the most tasted alcoholic beverages in Germany, it still has its own Fought back at the bar, With many taste facets and nuances, Cognac is one these days popular component in cocktails – in combination with amaretto, white rum or ginger ale.
Because of the bitter substances in the cognac, the spirit is also popular as Digestif, a digestive drink after meals, submitted. And still: the real one Pure enjoyment unfolds. That's why cognac is too swung without ice in large nose glasses, It is and remains a drink for gourmets and gourmets,
In our 2019/2020 cognac comparison, we introduce you to the world of branded wines: you will learn everything about the Production, well-known manufacturers and brands, as well as criteria that good cognac must meet. In the end, our buying advice gives you the right impetus to help you best cognac for your personal taste to find.
1. The Brandy Family: Differences Between Cognac or Brandy
In principle it is Cognac is a spirit based on wine. Cognac is therefore part of the Brandy family and is a direct relative of brandy, Both brandies are Result of schnapps distilled from winewho has been in for a long period of time Oak barrels stored has been.
Before we continue with the topic of cognac, we should first of all the differences between cognac and brandy clarify:
Back to the cognac: the Name Cognac is a protected designation of origin, This means that only brandy wines from this specific region in France can call themselves cognac. Even if the Brand protection does not apply worldwide, has the European Union accepts this regulation, That is why other branded wines are called for example Armagnac,
The Cognac brewing technology is very, by the way congruent with that of wine, which is made from several grape varieties. Cognac usually consists of several brandies. This Blends are called "blends". In the Wine making is said to be “cuvée”,
2. The ripening time decides on quality, price and labeling
Who introduced the maturity labels?
The most well-known cognac manufacturer Hennessy can look back on a unique company history, which was shaped by innovations.
In 1870, Maurice Hennessy created the Hennessy X.O, the world's first X.O cognac.
That is why her oldest cognac bears the addition “The Original X.O.”.
The Storage and maturation of cognac is one of the most important components when choosing the right product. Because: As with many high-quality spirits, such as whiskey or champagne, so is cognac Ripening period of crucial importance,
In principle, the following applies: The older, the more mature and expensive is a cognac. In addition, the longer the brandy rests in the barrels, the taste becomes stronger and more intense. The storage time therefore has a significant impact on the quality and price of the end product.
Basically, cognac is in three levels of maturity divided:
|X.O. (Extra Old)||6 years|
|V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale)||4 years|
|V. S. (Very special)||2 years|
For comparison: Whiskey also matures in oak barrels. Even a fresh and unripened whiskey has a pungent aftertaste that only becomes soft and round after years of ripening. The maturation of whiskey spirits takes five to eight years on. One reason why, for example, there are no malt whiskeys under the age of eight to buy.
Almost all types of cognac are stored in oak barrels, and cognac doesn't just have its own warm, golden brown color lend, but are also responsible for the rich variety of flavors.
Since cognac is often mixed from different distillates, must every distillate belongs to the same maturity level, That means, with the maturity level X.O. (Extra Old) each distillate is at least six years old, at V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale) at least four years and with V.S. (Very Special) is a minimum of two years.
Tips for beginners:
To get a taste, we recommend young cognac types with a long maturation period, Meanwhile young brandies are usually still spicy are wearing one long storage period contribute to that a velvety and soft aroma forms.
The process is supported by oak barrels, which are the brandy remove the sharpness of the alcohol after decades of storage and the drink make it soft and tolerable. Even cognacs with that Label V.S.- (Very Special) or V.S.O.P.- (Very Superior Old Pale) are suitable for beginners. they are Cheap and were partly with fruity aromas added, They are ideal for trying out what it feels like to taste out of the big potbellied cognac pan for a reasonable price.
Tips for experienced people:
Gourmet with every cognac tasting Journey through the diversity of the world of taste taken. V.S.O.P. cognacs are part of the standard range here.
Since even opened cognac bottles have a long shelf life, we recommend that you try something new the next time you buy cognac.
Belong to a well-equipped home bar of a true cognac lover Cognacs of all taste categories and classifications, So you have The right cognac for every occasion in the house.
Next Hennessy the following brands also belong to the most famous cognac producers:
- Claude Chatelier
- Rémy Martin
- Louis XIII
- Pierre Ferrand Grande Champagne
The Rémy Martin Black Pearl Magnum is one of the most expensive cognacs worldwide. A 1.5-liter bottle costs 36,000 euros. The bottle is made of lead crystal and there is only one barrel of the grape variety.
3. Cognac pleasure: A taste experience for the palate and nose
After processing, cognac is only slightly similar in taste to the wine from which it was made, In the meantime, many different flavors have developed. Main flavors are for example:
- Jasmine or
The softer flavors include, for example Vanilla, chocolate and fruity fruit aromas,
The different flavors and aromas only develop at the Tasting in a special glass, Cognac is usually made either in a so-called Swivel, also called aquarium or balloon glass, or in a cognac glass enjoyed.
The distinctive bulbous shape of the cognac swivel narrows upwards, The round shape gives the brandy wine in a cognac glass lots of room to breathewhat benefits the taste. Because: The oxygen enables the cognac to develop its full taste,
In the Tasting cognac the nose also plays an important role. The so-called "Nosing" describes the process of smell testing, Around 90% of the taste sensation does not actually happen on the tongue, but happens with our sense of smell.
The Advantages and disadvantages of a cognac swivel In comparison to a cognac glass, we have listed you in a table:
- Cognac has plenty of space in the swivel to develop the taste
- the swivel lies comfortably in the hand: the natural body heat of the hand naturally heats the cognac to the ideal serving temperature
- the short stem provides support
- is not so well suited for "nosing", since even strong alcoholic notes are released by the oxygen
- Flavor is not bundled so much and therefore does not last as long as in a cognac glass
It is common knowledge that good cognacs are pure without ice and no other alcohol – be drunk. Nevertheless, cognac can now be found in some cocktails and mixed drinks. How you prefer to taste your cognac also depends on individual preferences.
We have it for you Basic rules for the correct tasting of cognac compiled:
Cognac is used in room temperature tasted. Sip the drink and leave it Develop liquid consciously in the mouth, In technical jargon this is called "sipping"
Best cognac store at a constant room temperature, The bottle should stand upright. If possible, pour the cognac into a smaller container as soon as the bottle empties. This way the aromas are retained for longer.
Serve the cognac in a classic way snifter
Falling down cognac: In contrast to other spirits, you should drink brandy slowly and consciously because of the enormous maturity.
Use cocktail glasses or wine glasses to drink cognac
Cognac is a cultural product with a long history that has a certain basic quality. It is a drink for connoisseurs who is not geared towards daily consumption.
4. Production: From the Cognac region all over the world
Grapes from the Cognac region are used for the production of cognac. Since the grape variety of the base wine has a decisive effect on the taste of the brandy, the growing area is a key quality characteristic for cognacs.
Depending on the region, the product can be assigned to a certain quality level: Cognacs from Petit and Grande Champagne are considered the highest quality, Followed by Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois ordinaires et communs.
After the grapes have been harvested, processing begins. Basically that happens Production of cognac in two distillation processesthat take place in a so-called still.
The Result of the respective burning processes is:
- cloudy raw fire with an alcohol value of around 30%
- Feinbrand with an alcohol value of around 60%
After the two burning processes, the Maturation of the brandies in oak barrels. It's the most important part of manufacturing of cognac because during this time the Taste unfolds, Because of the partial years of ripening the aromas of wine combine with those of wood. That's why it is important that the barrels only with wood, mostly oak, also from the Cognac region. This Fusion of wood and wine has a particularly large influence on the taste of cognac.
in the In the 17th century, double distillation was first introduced, The knight Jacques de la Croix Maron de Segonzac is said to have dreamed that the devil wanted to cook him twice in the cauldron. So he got the idea for the procedure.
5. Want something new? Cognac also tastes good on bread
Do you want something new? A herb cognac butter is ideal as a spread and also goes well with steak. That's how it's done:
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 250 g soft butter
– 2 tsp cognac
– 2 tablespoons of parsley
– some thyme
– 1 tsp lemon juice
– Salt and pepper
– Splashes of Tabasco
– Chop garlic, thyme and parsley as finely as possible
– Mix the butter, cognac and lemon juice and stir until creamy
– Mix in the spices – garlic, thyme, parsley and tabasco
6. Questions and answers about cognac
6.1. How long is cognac stable?
As soon as cognac is bottled, the spirit no longer ages, The ripening period begins and ends in the oak barrels. This means: A V.S. cognac is and always will be a V.S. cognac. This means: Sealed cognac bottles are Consequently extremely long lasting.
Unlike wine bottles on the wine rack, you should use the Storage of cognac make sure that the Bottle stands upright, This prevents the liquid from coming into contact with the cork. Nowadays many cognac bottles have a screw cap – a standing storage is still recommended. The bottle should also be kept in a cool and dark place, such as a wine cooler.
Even open cognac can be tasted for a relatively long time. However, as soon as the cognac is exposed to air, it gradually evaporates. Fill the cognac into smaller containers at times to keep it fresh for longer.
6.2. What is the difference between cognac, brandy and rum?
The diversity of these spirits begins with the production. While Cognac based on wine is made exists Molasses rum, a dark brown liquid that is produced during sugar production.
Brandy is a brandy just like cognac or brandy. Brandy comes however from other regions and therefore cannot be called cognac. Other grape varieties may also be used for the production. Only the Ugni Blanc grape variety is used in the cognac production.
Regarding the tasting, the cognac reflects the years of aging. It is enjoyed carefully, undiluted and at room temperature. Rum, on the other hand, often serves as the basis for mixed drinks and is the main ingredient in the well-known cocktail Caipirinha.
6.3. Is there a cognac test from the Stiftung Warentest?
The Stiftung Warentest has not yet published a cognac test. Accordingly, there is still no cognac comparison winner from the Stiftung Warentest. In an independentWarentest warns of the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. In the report, the Stiftung Warentest underlines the importance of consuming spirits only consciously and in moderation.