What are the differences between Armagnac and Cognac?


This question is as frequent as it is interesting: what is the difference between an armagnac and a cognac?

It is quite easy to distinguish what unites them and what separates them. Their similarities lie in the fact that both are great French eaux-de-vie. They come from acidic and low-alcohol white wines, which are difficult to drink as such, but which respond perfectly to another common point: distillation.

Another common point: aging. Armagnac and cognac age, sometimes for very long years, in French oak barrels.

The differences

Cognac is made (mainly, 98%) from a single grape variety, Ugni Blanc. Armagnac plays on more grape varieties, and therefore nuances: ugni blanc, baco, Folle Blanche, Colombard, mainly. To these four grape varieties, we can add six others (contained in the appellation decree) and less used: the plant of fat (which we find more and more frequently) and others that Armagnacais come out of the forgetting: Saint-François meslier, white Jurançon, Clairette de Gascogne, white Mauzac, rosé Mauzac.

Distillation side

Here again we must enter into more subtle differences. In Charente, double distillation is practiced, in Gascony, distillation is continuous in short column stills which preserve the more rustic character of each grape variety by distilling at a lower degree.

The aging offers, here again, some differences: the Cognaçais use sessile or sessile oak wood, while the Armagnacais rather opt for their Gascon oak which will require longer aging times.

Two treasures of French heritage

Finally, if Armagnac remains carried by a multitude of small Houses, often family-run, Cognac is in the hands (overwhelmingly) of large luxury groups with a vision and an international dimension... that Armagnac can sometimes envy!

All you have to do is make up your own mind! A comment from the Maison de l’Armagnac: both are magnificent eaux-de-vie that carry the image of French gastronomy high.

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Maison de l'Armagnac - Quelles sont les différences entre l’Armagnac et le Cognac ?