Exploring the World of Spirits
In the realm of distilled spirits, attending tastings and learning about the variety of liquors has become a popular pastime for many. However, while going on this journey of taste and aroma, it’s important to understand the basic differences between the types of liquor. Today, we’ll be focusing on the difference between two quintessential spirits – Cognac and Bourbon.
France’s Famous Export
Cognac, besides being a small town in Western France, is widely known for its high quality brandy. Produced in the wine-growing regions surrounding the town, this aged spirit has a reputation for its unparalleled quality and flavor. The liquor’s production follows a rigid set of standards set by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) to maintain its troublesome quality. Cognac must be made from specific grape varieties, the most common being Ugni Blanc, and it must be double distilled in copper pot stills and aged in French oak barrels for a minimum of two years.
The Taste Profile of Cognac
Cognac offers a rich palette of flavors. The location of the vineyards, the quality of the soil, and the weather patterns all contribute to the distinctive taste of individual bottles. Generally, Cognac is characterized by its smooth, velvety texture and notes of fruit, flowers, spice, and oak.
Diving into Bourbon
The Quintessential American Spirit
On the other side of the Atlantic, Bourbon holds a special place in the heart of American liquor enthusiasts. Originating in Kentucky, Bourbon is an iconic product of the United States with legal production guidelines to protect its authenticity. Notably, it must be made primarily from corn, aged in new charred oak barrels, and cannot include any added flavoring, coloring, or other spirits. The length of the aging process varies, but for a spirit to be labeled ‘straight’ bourbon, it must be aged for a minimum of two years.
The Flavors of Bourbon
Bourbon presents a bold amalgamation of flavors which include caramel, vanilla, tobacco, and leather. Moreover, bourbon is thicker and heavier in consistency compared to cognac, owing to the high corn content and the charred oak barrel aging process. The finish tends to be long, with a strong aftertaste that lingers on your palate.
Choosing Between Cognac and Bourbon
In the end, the choice between Cognac and Bourbon boils down to personal preference. For those who prefer a smooth, fruity spirit with a velvet texture, Cognac makes an excellent option. On the other hand, if one is inclined towards bolder, spicier flavors with a robust aftertaste, Bourbon would be the go-to choice.
Experience It For Yourself
The best way to understand the difference between these two iconic spirits is by giving them a try! Whether in the comfort of your home or during a visit to their respective regions of origin, the uniquely distinctive qualities of Cognac and Bourbon can be explored with each sip. Enjoy the experience and let it enhance your spiritual journey.