Hello everyone, So today we will discuss the Difference Between Whiskey And Brandy. This is really a two-part question. Brandy is distilled wine and Whisky is distilled beer. From a consumer point of view, all you need to know is most whisky sold is between 5 and 20 years old (i.e. stored in a barrel for that length of time) and most Brandy is between 2 and 10 years old.
Difference Between Whiskey And Brandy
Brandy (from Brandewein, Middle Dutch, to Brandywine, to Brandy.) was first distilled by shippers in the lowlands. (Brande means “burnt” or “baked” in Dutch) The idea was to save money on shipping wine by distilling, exactly like frozen orange juice concentrate today. The importers and buyers could just add water and voila, wine!
Brandy is made from grapes, in a similar way to wine, but with different methods that emphasize different flavors than wine. As I understand it’s a bit like a potent wine concentrate. Brandy is similar to Cognac but it can be made from several different types of grapes grown in many regions of the world including California. While Cognac must be made from special grapes grown in the Cognac region of France.
There are brandies made from fermented fruit juices or fruit mashes. They are usually made with a certain percentage of brandy grapes too. These are flavored brandies.
Other brandies can be made with ingredients other than wine or grape juice, including fruit juice, vegetable juice, herbs, berries, and sometimes the leftover mash from wine making known as “lee”.
In some countries brandy must be made in a particular way for it to be allowed to be legally sold as “brandy”, but many countries have no such laws.
Brandy is a spirit made in a process similar to the whiskey-making process. There is a very broad range of spirits that are called brandy, and in a broad sense brandy is any “grape”, “juice”, or “wine” whiskey.
But true traditional brandy including cognac is made with only fermented white brandy or cognac grapes that are usually imparted with some other flavors including wood or oak from fermenting barrels or pre-made wood flavorings and caramel color.
Suffering from cold or flu? Take a shot of brandy and wait for it to work magic. Brandy has antibacterial components and its high proportion of alcohol helps to get rid of the cold, throat pain and coughing in no time. The perfect pairing of its warming nature and relaxing quality made it a trusted source to boost the immune system for hundreds of years.
Like cognac which is a type of brandy, brandy is made by fermenting and distilling special cognac or brandy grape wine, into a spirit. Brandy and cognac are white-wine-whisky in a sense. They are a concentrated spirit of white wine.
Alas, the consumers never read the instructions and took to drinking the stuff neat: Brandy was born. Somewhere in there the shippers and retailers realized that more time in the barrel improved the spirit and the various quality levels were born – Old, Very Old (VO), Very Special Old (VSOP), Extra Old (XO), etc.
Traditionally produced Brandies are still distilled wine and are distilled in pot stills (e.g. Armagnac.) SOME whiskies are also traditionally distilled in pot stills, notably most of the great labels of Single Malt Scotches.
Whisk(e)y can be made from any type of grain, but traditionally, it’s made from four grains:
The grains you use, in what quantities, where you made it, what it’s aged in, and how long it’s been aged will change the name of the whisk(e)y. And that’s enforceable by law.
If you hear malt, assume its mash bill is at least 51% barley. If you hear grain, assume the mash bill includes a mixture of grains.
So let’s go over a common category of scotch, single malt scotch.
“Single” = Only one distillery was involved in the making of the scotch.
“Malt” = We know the mash bill consists of all barley, as required by the legal requirements of Scotland.
“Scotch” = Made in Scotland and aged at least 3 years in used oak barrels.
BOTH products these days are more likely distilled in continuous and semi-continuous stills which is a more industrial process, that allows for a higher level of precision. Theoretically, you can make just as good a whisky in a continuous still as a pot still but consumers don’t necessarily believe this and the romance of the pot lives on. (Consumers also like cork seals on wine and whisky bottles for the same nostalgic reason.)
The products were quickly utilized as medicinal products and indeed it is likely the invention of distillation is owed to Persian scientists seeking to refine medicines and minerals. Tinctures are dissolved herbs in alcohol. (The other usual solution is water, making a tisane.)Doctors realized making the drink palatable increased patient compliance. Once the sugar trade was in full swing in c. 1600 it was easy to sweeten with sugar.
Prior to this, the raw spirit was sweetened with the addition of fruits (e.g. Slivovitz, schnapps.) These products are also referred to as ‘Brandy’. Modern products today may or may not have a wine-based spirit as the main ingredient, depending on the manufacturer.
To be blunter, the choice of alcohol in the base depends on the label’s ability to command a price that justifies the extra expense of a brandy base over neutral grain spirits (NGS.) Anything once distilled to the 90%+ level of purity is flavorless, and modern base liquor is virtually always NGS which is produced in gigantic quantities for pennies a hectolitre.
MANY whiskies and brandies are part of NGS to keep the price down. Vast quantities of wine that the EU farm subsidy program could not sell were converted to NGS for the medical and bulk alcohol market, including inexpensive Brandy manufacturers.
Whiskey is a distilled (and usually aged) liquor generally made from fermented wheat, rye, or corn.
Brandy is a distilled liquor made from wine, which itself is fermented from grapes (or other fruits).