To overcome growing shortages, the Bureau national interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIA) was founded in 1941. (extra old) and an unofficial designation named Napoleon. Vital du Four listed 40 different health benefits of eau-de-vie, which included topical applications for relieving headaches, paralysis, and colds. “[These] are column stills that are 15 plates or less,” says Leonardo Comercio, sales manager for PM Spirits, an importer that specializes in brandy. Usually, it’s diluted and bottled at 40%. Here's a primer on the liquors. Like its neighbouring brandy, Armagnac’s production is regulated by several French appellations and the region is divided into a number of individual zones. Armagnac allows 10 grapes but usually uses four. It’s beloved by professionals and those in the know, but outsold by its more popular sibling. Because it borders ocean ports, brandy from Cognac has always been more popular and commercially available. (This changed to 10 years in 2018.) On the other hand, in the case of Armagnac, all the production processes take place in Armagnac, France. By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our Main Difference – Cognac vs Armagnac. Cognac aims for elegance and smoothness, Armagnac for richness. If neither is available, a small wine or tulip champagne glass will still perform quite well for tasting the spirit. While Cognac is twice distilled using a pot still, Armagnac undergoes column distillation, though much different from the large, modern industrial stills often used to produce neutral spirits like vodka. Similarly, Armagnac is known for its millésime expressions where the product consists of only one single vintage. and Reserve to show the minimum age. By using our website and/or subscribing to our newsletter, Indeed, Armagnac isn’t just an alternative to cognac but a whole other brandy of its own. Armagnac and Cognac are both grape brandies, but are produced in different regions of France. Many of these grape growers and distillers work with multiple brands. According to Hervé Bache-Gabrielsen, president of the Bache-Gabrielsen Cognac house, Armagnacs tend to have strong, rustic, generous and robust flavors, while Cognacs express themselves with more delicacy and refinement, with exceptionally long-lasting floral notes. While Cognac must age for at least two years, some younger versions of armagnac only age for a year or so. Today, Armagnac is produced across parts of the modern-day departments of Gers, Landes, and Lot-et-Garonne. All Cognac is graded on an aging scale from youngest to oldest. Fortunately, with state support, Armagnac has since recovered and it celebrated its 700th anniversary following the publication of Vital du Four’s treaty. These laws were finely-tuned in 1936 with the creation of their appellations. Stills in tow, they would travel to farms in the hinterlands, allowing the farmers to make brandy from their wine without having to buy equipment of their own. The Armagnac Primer : Armagnac is cheaper and better than cognac. However, it’s more traditional to bottle vintage Armagnac than Cognac. Armagnac tends to come off the still at around 52–60% alcohol by volume (abv). Delord 25 Year Bas Armagnac. Learn how your comment data is processed. He also suggested that it helped cure shyness and even help rejuvenate the tongue. Although they share proximity—Cognac against the Atlantic, north of Bordeaux, about an hour-and-a-half from landlocked Armagnac to the south—they produce two very different styles of brandy distinguished by history, grapes, soil, technique and aging. Cognac is actually a type of brandy that has been distilled in the town of Cognac in France. Nevertheless, if you find an Armagnac too strong, you can use a typical method of adding a droplet of water. VSOP: Very Special Old Pale – legally must be 4 and 1/2 years, but most are aged for 5-13 years. The process of distillation had been adopted following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Cognac vs Armagnac The difference Cognac and Armagnac are France's signature spirits, both similar and very different at the same time. Since the reclassification of X.O., Napoleon has adopted the category’s former requirements, and now signifies a blend with a minimum age of six years. If you were to add ice to Armagnac, you can’t control how it chills and dilutes. While Armagnac was also affected, phylloxera was unable to thrive in its sandy soil. Many of the legacy brands in Cognac are named for foreigners like Richard Hennessy, an Irish trader, and Thomas Hine, an Englishman who married into a family with a distillery. The Charentais terroir The Cognac and Armagnac terroirs are separated by about 300 kilometers. About the Book Author. Darroze les grands assemblages 12-year-old armagnac, 43 per cent, 70cl. Nevertheless, it may also be blended in a similar way to cognac. As we state in all of our guides, there is no wrong way to drink a spirit as long as you are enjoying it. However, the majority of production is contracted from producers all over the region. Brandy snifters are comfortable, large, and can be held in a way that easily warms the Armagnac. You can learn more about their similarities and differences by comparing our guides on how cognac is made and how Armagnac is made. "It's become known as a symbol of French luxury, the best brandy money can buy (yes, cognac is a brandy). Armagnac comes from Gascony, southwest France, and has been produced since the XIV century. However, to earn this designation, at least 50% of the blend must be Grande Champagne Cognac. Excluding their different geographical locations and climates, Armagnac is often released as yearly vintages rather than just blends like V.S.O.P. Region: Bas-Armagnac. For instance, cognac uses a Charentais copper pot still while Armagnac favours a continuous column still, which results in very different eau-de-vie. Meanwhile, a small tulip is easier for nosing and by holding it at the stem, you can control the brandy’s temperature. Cognac, on the other hand, is distilled twice in a pot still, which brings it to around 70% abv. The first major house to ever employ a woman as its cellar master, the company is now in the hands of a 33-year-old -- the youngest cellar master in the history of Cognac. Combined with increased flexibility in their combination of grapes, there is a greater variety in flavours. Furthermore, it might even help prevent gallstones as well as type 2 diabetes. These designations indicate the age of the youngest brandy in the blend. Being situated inland, this fine brandy has never achieved the heights of its coastal competitor Cognac but is a worthy competitor. However, its demand changed during the phylloxera outbreaks in the late-19th century. Nevertheless, like any alcoholic spirit, excess usually has far more drawbacks than benefits. In fact, by pressing your hand on the glass, you can gently warm the spirit in order to explore its purity. They have much in common: they are both French premium spirits produced in South West France, they are both white wine grape brandies with their own Appellation Contrôlée, they are both aged in oak in well-charred barrels, they can both be aged for considerable periods, they are both normally reduced in strength before bottling, and they share many of the same … Privacy Policy, By continuing to use our Services and/or submitting the above information, you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of ourPrivacy Policy, Welcome to winemag.com! "If I had to compare the two with sports, I'd say that Armagnac leans more toward a rugby player—frontal power with short and decisive moves—and Cognac like a golfer—finesse, precision, length and time," Bache-Gabrielsen explains. Firstly, Armagnac is best served at room temperature, which opens the flavours. Although often compared to cognac, Armagnac is actually has a unique flavour as a result of its distinctive production process as well as the other differences we highlight above. Since it’s distilled from wine, Armagnac should also be gluten-free and without risk for people with celiac’s disease or other sensitivities. Armagnac fits in a natural triangle with three departments: Gers almost in its entirety, part of the Lot et Garonne and part of Landes. and X.O. Today, he is often regarded as the forefather and founder of modern-day Armagnac. While there are some notes of spices and caramelised wood, it places less emphasis on the bold leather and musk that you may experience with cognac. For wine lovers, the differences between Cognac and Armagnac are much like those found between big-name wine regions and under-the-radar appellations that also produce competitive, high-quality bottles, but to less fanfare. Indeed, both are produced by distilling wine from a variety of dry and acidic white grapes. Some also bottle their own Cognac. They cleanse it and give it a high aromatic tone that would still be still be a flavorful distillate before it even goes into barrel.”, A column still creates texture differences between Cognac and Armagnac as well. Therefore, Armagnac tends to be quite fruit-forward with notes often associated with plums. Armagnac is often livelier and fruitier than cognac as it’s usually distilled just once. and Reserve to show the minimum age. means that the youngest brandy (called an eau-de-vie at this stage) is at least two years old. COGNAC Armagnac was somewhat considered to be an inferior product to cognac even if it was better than other brandies. (Armagnac is brandy made in the Armagnac region of France.) If a bottle of Cognac is labeled “Fine Champagne,” it’s a blend of Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne brandies. Bordeaux and other coastal towns such as Bayonne were prevalent trading ports. (very special), V.S.O.P. Armagnac predates cognac by several hundred years. In manufacturing Cognac, the entire process, growing grapes, fermentation, distillation, aging and bottling all takes place in the province of Cognac, France. Neal says that the additional dilution contributes to Cognac’s lighter sensation. “Whereas Armagnac, texturally, is more like the vodka in the freezer, thicker and richer on the palate.”. Cognac is usually distilled from one. This practice quickly spread to other regions and may have inspired the creation of cognac. Unravelling the mystery of these two complex spirits can take a lifetime, but we're here to give you a head start. “Cognac is almost like the vodka that you store on the kitchen counter,” says Neal. As the Armagnac region is shared by other liqueurs and wines such as Floc de Gascogne and Côtes de Gascogne, some of these grapes are used for making those too. Cognac’s lesser-known older sibling, Armagnac is a surprisingly elusive brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives. Like cognac, Armagnac is usually enjoyed as a digestif following a hearty meal. Pay attention to importers and distributors that represent brands you like. Cognac’s lesser-known older sibling, Armagnac is a surprisingly elusive brandy that offers merits far more attention than it receives. Armagnac is often distilled to be lower in alcohol than Cognac. The two Champagne regions, like the famed sparkling wine region, are named for the high composition of chalk in the soil. Yet, it described an apothecary remedy rather than an alcoholic drink. How To Drink It & Armagnac Vs Cognac. Finally, grappa is another possibility despite not specifically being an eau-de-vie de vin. Share. Additionally, Armagnac contains no carbohydrates or fats. Since the spirit is sourced so commonly from different producers, most Cognacs are blended to produce various house expressions. When it comes to French alcohol based beverages, Cognac is one brandy that rules the roost. The primary grape used to make Cognac is Ugni Blanc, though smaller amounts of Folle Blanche (also called Picpoul) and Colombard are allowed. Cognac and Armagnac are both brandies made from white wine grapes. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, What Is Armagnac? However, while there is a lot of potential for this heart-heavy spirit to develop, it also means Cognac can take more time to show its more exuberant side. It is a world famous brandy that originates in a wine producing region called cognac in Northeastern France. Cognac vs. Indeed, cognac was first produced in the 16th century as a solution for Dutch traders to reduce the costs of exporting wine. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our, Why Ultra-Aged Spirits are Ripping You Off, Welcome to winemag.com! In 1310, a Franciscan cardinal, Vital du Four, wrote a treaty describing 40 different health benefits of consuming eau-de-vie. Generally, cognac is perceived as a more industrial brandy as it’s largely dominated by major houses such as Rémy Martin, Hennessey, and Courvoisier. The grades are V.S. The next time you’re making a cocktail with cognac, consider substituting armagnac for a more complex and robust drink. Although some of these benefits are probably somewhat exaggerated, Vital du Four made some interesting observations. They were frequently visited by the aforementioned Dutch merchants who purchased salt, wine, and wood. Armagnac is a type of brandy that is produced in the in the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France. Cognac Aging Scale. Brandy: 7 Key Differences By Jacki August 2, 2018. There are two major features of production that separate the brandy from the Cognac and Armagnac regions. In contrast to French wine, Cognac is still known by its brands, rather than individual producers or estates. Cognac is typically not vintage-dated, better Armagnac often is. Armagnac and Rye are more spicy, intense and rustic, whereas Cognac and bourbon are smoother, sweeter and more nuanced. Victor Hugo called cognac the "liquor of the gods. The type of wood used in the aging process differs as well. Armagnac is more rustic in production, which results in a full-flavored brandy that importer Charles Neal, of Charles Neal Selections, calls “a bit more…forward and punchy.” The brandy used to produce Armagnac was made historically by roving distillers. Cognac vs Armagnac. Armagnac liquor, which features a robust flavor, typically has a higher alcohol content than cognac. For instance, Armagnac may feature enough antioxidants to help heart and blood circulation. While Armagnac does produce blends like cognac and using a similar ageing classification, a greater emphasis is placed on the yearly variations in yield and flavour. Indeed, grappa is made with pomace rather than the juice. Needless to say, cognac is the most obvious substitute that you could consider to replace Armagnac! The first is the process of distillation, the second being the aging and use of materials regulated by Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) law and it is these processes that influence the subtle differences later found in taste, texture and appearance. Therefore, the Dutch started purchasing the burned wine in greater quantities, which was easier to transport and could be diluted upon arrival in Holland. Brandy is wine’s cousin in the spirits world, and Cognac and Armagnac have as much to reveal about where they come from as any wine region on earth. The first key difference is that Armagnac is almost always distilled just once, whereas Cognac eau-de-vie is distilled twice. Furthermore, the earliest sale of local eau-de-vie in the area was recorded as early as 1461 through tax records of a market in Saint-Sever. “They are not there to strip and transfer raw material into neutral distillate. However, it was unable to fully support its producers and Haut-Armagnac’s vineyards had almost disappeared by the 1970s. you agree to our use of cookies and the terms of our. Hence, a V.S.O.P. Like Cognac, Armagnac is blended and labeled frequently with indications like V.S.O.P., X.O. Armagnac is a type of brandy or eau-de-vie that is named after the old Armagnac region of Gascony in south-western France. In Western France, the regions of Cognac and Armagnac produce some of the world’s most venerated grape brandies. It’s easy to overlook the details that define regional spirits, but their discovery can be very rewarding. Although a growing network of river ports was built throughout the region, much of Gascony consisted of small streams, which still required carts for transporting goods. Similarly, Armagnac is regarded as a far more artisanal brandy than cognac as it’s often made by local family-owned producers rather than large, industrial companies. Cognac’s vineyards were ravaged by the insects. We have a variety of other armagnac guides, which you’ll see in the menu below. Cognac is made in Cognac region whereas Armagnac is made in Armagnac region. Cognac contains a larger portion of heart, or the middle section of the distillation run, considered to be the purest in flavor. The major difference between Cognac and Armagnac is the distillation. Whereas Cognac is typically produced from one white grape—ugni blanc—Armagnac can be distilled from a base of four white grapes: ugni blanc, folle blanche, colombard and Baco 22A. "Both … Cognac must be made in the Charente and Charente-Maritime départements to the north of Bordeaux, whereas Armagnac comes from the Gascony region south of the city. Thank You! Cognac undergoes a different production process than its less famous counterpart, with two rounds of distillation for a subtler flavor. Both offer a curved shape, which helps trap the volatile compounds that evaporate and produce the aromas. However, Armagnac will also typically use Baco 22A, which isn’t permitted for cognac. Cognac vs Armagnac . By slightly decreasing its strength, you can reduce the alcohol bloom and open the flavours. However, there are lots of different varieties of brandy all over Europe and the world. Therefore, it was sold relatively cheaply and catered to a more affordable market. While Cognac sets sales records year after year, Armagnac has re-emerged as a connoisseur’s drink. Established in 1724, Rémy Martin has long been a pioneer in the Cognac industry. (very superior old pale), X.O. Yet, some aged grappas can be surprisingly similar to Armagnac. Indeed, Armagnac isn’t just an alternative to cognac but a whole other brandy of its own. This is the main difference between Cognac and Armagnac. Consequently, a single shot of Armagnac should have no more than 100 calories in a similar way to other liquor like vodka or rum. Vintage Armagnac is relatively affordable compared to other aged spirits, and it’s a great option if you seek a bottle to commemorate a particular year. In Cognac 97% of the grape variety used is Ugni-Blanc which produces fine, high-quality eaux-de-vie. Although Armagnac is traditionally served neat, it can also be enjoyed chilled with ice or even as part of a cocktail. In 1909, the Armagnac brandy region was legally defined and the three zones were formally established. V.S. Age: Hors d’Âge (25 … ... Armagnac, unlike Cognac, is single distilled and tends to be somewhat more rustic than Cognac. XO: Extra Old – legally must be 6 years old, but most are aged between 7 to 40 years. Therefore, cognac has a greater oceanic influence whereas Armagnac is shielded by the Landes forest while also being touched by the Mediterranean’s southerly winds. Although both varieties of brandy share a lot in common, there are a number of differences between cognac and Armagnac. For instance, most Armagnac is released as Millésimes or vintages, which contain only the grapes harvested in the year noted on the bottle. Initially, Armagnac’s wine producers would present a cask of brandy or “vin brûlée” (burned wine) to the traders as a gift. Armagnac could be considered a better value than a similarly aged Cognac. Cognac vs armagnac, an alternative malternative session We’ve had good fun recently with some cognacs and armagnacs, so we’re rather in a brandy mood I have to say. The difference in mouthfeel results partially from the concentration of alcohol. However, it’s extremely limited and it remains a dry spirit. Worth noting is that these designations don’t always show up on a bottle, and most quality producers will exceed their minimum listed age significantly. Armagnac Grapes vs. Cognac Grapes When it comes to Cognac, the most common grape in use today is the Ugni Blanc. Cognac is mostly produced by larger houses, Armagnac by small independent producers. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links. For instance, it’s often paired with foie gras, another local delicacy. Armagnac vs Cognac. Although the traders were free to consume it themselves, they often added it to the wine to help preserve it during shipping. V.S.O.P indicates that the youngest eau-de-vie in the blend is at least four years old. Armagnac, meanwhile, it more likely to be fruity and intense when young. COPYRIGHT © 2013 - 2019 BESPOKE UNIT, LLC. The four biggest houses, Hennessy, Courvoisier, Rémy Martin and Martell, are global entities whose bottles are found behind almost any bar. Meanwhile, cognac’s second distillation run tends to remove more of the vinous bouquet. Generally, a well-crafted and aged Armagnac will offer a complex tapestry of aromas, which create a harmoniously heady experience. However, it’s possible to follow a few steps in order to heighten your tasting experience and take full advantage of an Armagnac’s potential. A pot still allows for more control over the “heads, heart and tails,” or how distillers describe respectively the first, middle and final parts of the spirit to flow out of the still. Both of these brandies are produced in France.