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  1. #1

    Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    I am quite new to enjoying anything but vodka. I'm building a home bar and have purchased Rum, Tequila, Vodka, Whiskey and just recently Cognac.

    Which brings me to this question: I purchased an XO Extra old Cognac after some research online. Well...my initial 'nosing' was it was just like my scotch whiskey. Is it suppose to be this way? Will my nose eventually be trained to distinguish the differences?

  2. #2
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    Re: Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    Your nose will get better with time. The only thing that whisky and cognac have in common is that they are aged in barrels. Whisky in your case is made from malted barley. Cognac is made from grapes. One other thing scotch and cognac share is distillation in pot stills.

  3. #3
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    Re: Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    VERY different spirits IMO. Cognacs tend to be smoother especially the older they get. If you try them side my side you'll taste differences immediately.

  4. #4
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    Re: Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    I agree with Vange, they don't taste the same, but in two important ways a real whisk(e)y and Cognac are alike.

    First, they are both distilled at a notably low proof, somewhere around 140 give or take 10 points or so either way. This means they contain the secondary (to ethanol) constituents of fermentation which give added flavor to the drinks. Just recently I tasted Sea Wynde, an all-pot still rum which Doug has in his great liquors cabinet. There was a clear connection to the pot still element of Woodford Reserve (bourbon) and the pot still taste of a number of malt whiskies and brandies I've had.

    Second, well-matured whiskies and brandies pick up a lot of wood from the barrel, and despite the different kinds of wood used for aging, the nose of a whisky, and sometimes the taste, will resemble to a degree those of a Cognac or other brandy.

    That Beam Black from 30 years ago Doug has could pass for an aged rum, and again it is because of resemblances amongst drinks in the woods used to age them and their congeneric character from being distilled at a low proof.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 01-24-2008 at 09:15.

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2010 and Guru
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    Re: Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    I agree with Gary, though I think they may be even more closely related than he supposes.

    First both are fermented, converting sugars to ethanol by the action of yeast.

    Let's say both are fermented until they reach 10% ABV or 20 proof.

    Then they are distilled

    To make math easy, we'll say until they reach 150 proof or 75% ABV

    That means 3/4 of the resultant liquid comes from the action of the yeast and the remaining 1/4 comes from the original liquid.

    These are then diluted to be placed in barrels.

    I'll use 100 proof or 50% ABV as the entry proof to make math easy.
    (okay, maybe easy..I think you have to add 1 part water to reduce 2 parts 150 proof...look up in dilution calc...yes I'm right..okay on we go)

    So now we have something that is by volume:
    1/3 water
    1/2 alcohol
    1/6 original liquid.

    Now I forget the exact number, but lets say that on average 60% of the flavor of distilled/aged spirits is from the barrel. That means that less than 7% of the original flavorings remain after all this.

    This is undoubtedly a gross simplification...but gives something to think about.
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  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    Well put, Timothy.

    Gary

  7. #7
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    Re: Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    When it comes to cognac I am totally ignorant.
    I have had some brandy, but only a few pours years and years ago. At the time it seemed to hot.
    But I have been wanting to try some good cognac and determine for myself what it is all about.
    I respect opinions about bourbons by most SB.com members, so I will ask, what would you suggest that I should go to a store and lay down some hard earned Dead Presidents for what cognacs?

    Sorry if I am to far off topic.
    Last edited by OscarV; 01-24-2008 at 11:22.
    ovh

  8. #8
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    Re: Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    Has anyone else tasted St. George's Single Malt? To me it tastes like a cross between cognac and scotch (which doesn't work for me).

    Tom

  9. #9
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    Re: Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    Oscar, my opinion is to try the cognacs from houses that dont use many additives like some of the big boys do. I tend to go for XOs and up. Obviously more $$ though.

    COGNAC
    Delamain (awesome stuff!)
    Maison Surrenne
    HINE (this is a relatively big brand, but I find it very good)
    Daniel Boujou (havent tried yet, but great reviews)
    Leopold Gourmel
    Tesseron (awesome stuff, the 1929 is unreal!!!)

    BRANDY
    Germain Robin (made in US, very good stuff!)

    OFF THE BEATEN PATH (Greek brandy, a bit sweeter than other brandy and cognac due to the moscato wine they mix in)

    METAXA (id go 7 star or above)

  10. #10
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    Re: Is Cognac similar to Whiskey?

    Ok, that was probably overkill.

    If I had to pick one, I'd go with Delamain or Tesseron.

 

 

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