Armagnac vs Cognac

Sipping a glass of good brandy is a classic and fancy way to treat yourself. In France, the Cognac and Armagnac regions produced some of the best tasting spirits the world of brandies offers. Although they share proximity, they created two incredibly different brandy styles that took the world by storm.

While Cognac and Armagnac are amongst the most well-known grape-based French spirits, don’t mistake them by thinking they are the same. Leisure loan providers at Credit Capital couldn’t agree more. Head of finance Alister Clare said, “Despite having almost the same origin, these two brandies are just too different! Choosing between them falls entirely on the person’s taste.”

For brandy lovers, choosing between the two might prove to be complicated. To help, here is a detailed breakdown of notable differences between Cognac and Armagnac to help you decide which French Brandy would better match your taste!

The Showdown: Cognac vs. Armagnac 

While both hailed from France, these two brandies sport significant differences that set them entirely apart.  

Grape Variety Differences 

Surprisingly, both Cognac and Armagnac are created from undrinkable wine... (to be exact, it is meant to be so, acidic, low in alcohol [8 to 9%],  from less mature grapes, to have the widest palette of aromatics, to be revealed after Distillation and ageing in barrel. Table wines are made at full maturation and have a much narrower aromatic spectrum, and if they were distilled would make very boring brandies) Cognac uses mostly Ugni Blanc Grape, while Armagnac uses Ugni blanc and Baco, Colombard , Folle Blanche & other grape varieties. This difference in grape varieties is behind the great diversity of cognacs and armagnacs

Cognac is round and soft with a narrower spectrum of aromatics than Armagnac which is more complex and more difficult.  

Distillation 

Cognac such as Normandin Mercier, Francois Voyer, Paul Giraud and Grosperrin undergo two distillation rounds in pot stills. At the same time, Armagnac, such as Delord and Darroze, only has to go through it once in a column still. 

Ageing  

A Cognac needs to be aged for at least two years minimum. It typically sits in a Tronçais oak barrel or Limousin. For Armagnac, it needs to be aged for 2 years to be considered VS (Very Special) in a Gascon oak barrel..Of course such ageing is very insufficient and at Spirits of France, no VS is less than 5 years, VSOP less than 10 years, XO less than 20 years , etc.

Terroir

Differentiation is further amplified by origin and soil. In Cognac, Grande Champagne (Dudognon, Francois Voyer, Jean Fillioux, Paul Giraud), Petite Champagne (Normandin Mercier) , Borderies (Grosperrin) are terroir that will double the price when Bons Bois, Fins Bois & Bois Ordinaires are more...ordinary.

In Armagnac it is Grand Bas Armagnac (Boingneres, Darroze, Lacourtoisie), far more expensive than Bas Armagnac (Delord, Gelas, Castarede, Tariquet) or Tenarèze (Darroze)

And of course there are some rare exceptions

Taste 

As it turns out, Armagnacs, like Delord, tend to have rustic, strong, robust, and generous flavours. It seems light compared to the refined and delicate flavours of Cognac, like Normandin Mercier and Voyer, which often have exceptionally deep-rooted floral notes.  

The immense difference in flavour and taste came from the distinctive process and other differences mentioned above. While excluding the difference in climate and geographical location, Armagnac has more yearly vintage releases than blends. Generally, a well-aged and cared for Armagnac can offer a comprehensive tapestry of aroma, making a harmoniously heady experience for the taster.   

Meanwhile, Cognac has a complex tableau of solid and rich flavours. Typically, they have more citrus and candied fruits flavour on the nose and hints of spices. One can associate their taste with leather, caramelised fruit, and citrus. 

Which French Brandy Matches Your Taste? 

Cognac and Armagnac are remarkable alcoholic spirits celebrated for their vast array of flavours and the complex ageing process. While hailing from the same country, their similarities end there. These two brandies are entirely different, and it takes personal taste and preference to decide which of the two is better. 

Spirits of France houses the most refined and high-end French brandies in the market, including Cognac and Armagnac. What do we promise? to offer the best and high-quality products in the Spirits Industry. 

Feel free to reach out to us to know more. 

 

Credit and Written by: Mikayla Newman