Do you feel like the ignoramus of your group every time there is a discussion about liquor?
Do you nod your head politely and hope to god the topic changes soon every time someone starts a passionate debate about which is better – Brandy or Whisky?
Well, I say no more. It’s time to get all the info and facts – by the end of this article, you will be able to talk about the differences and similarities just as well as anyone else.
To many, Brandy and Whisky are the same in both colour and flavour. But, once you go deeper, you find that the two drinks are starkly different from each other. Only a connoisseur will be able to tell you the difference.
In sheer geographical terms, Scotland is the largest producer of Whisky, and France is famous for its brandy, such as Cognac and Armagnac.
Whisky and Brandy both taste different, have a distinct aroma, and have a different texture due to their contrasting ingredients.
The critical difference between Whisky and Brandy is this: Whisky is made from fermented grain. On the contrary, Brandy is made with fermented fruit.
Read on to know more.
All About Whisky
As we said, Whisky is made from fermented cereal. But that’s a very simple statement.
Every region of the world produces Whisky with a different mash content. Whisky can be made with Rye, malted Rye, barley, corn, wheat, malted barley, and more.
Depending on the geographical location and the government norms, the alcohol content of Whisky can vary.
Whisky is stored in Oak barrels and aged for years. The golden colour of the drink and its texture is the gift of those oak barrels.
Types of whiskeys
There are many types of whiskeys, and all of them are made with cereal grain.
- Malt whiskey: its primary grain content is malted barley. Eg. The Balvenie, Laphroaig, Bowmore, etc.
- Single malt: This Whiskey is produced in different parts of the world but in a single distillery, as it uses only one malted cereal. E.g., Ben Riach, Aberfeldy, Mortlach, and more.
- Grain whisky: it is made from any kind of grain like a maze, corn, Rye. Eg. The Teeling
- Blended malt Whisky: when a whisky is made using different distilleries, it turns out to be a blended malt. E.g., Douglas Laing, Monkey Shoulder, Compass box.
- Blended Whiskies: when Whisky is made with Rectified spirit and is a mixture of malt and grain, it becomes a blended whiskey. E.g., Jonnie Walker, Grants, Chivas.
- Cask Whisky: when a rare whisky is filled into bottles directly from the cask, its undiluted form is a cask whisky. Macallan is one of the best examples of single cask whisky.
Process Of Making Whisky
There is a whole science behind a bottle of Whiskey. Since Whiskey is made from grains, the powdered grain is mixed with hot water and boiled till the starch converts into sugar.
The mixture gets fermented by adding yeast, which helps convert it into alcohol and CO2. The Whisky is further put into the distillation process to get the right spirits.
Finally, the Whisky is aged in charred oak barrels or white oak barrels for years.
All About Brandy
Brandy is a post-dinner drink that gets its spirit from grapes, wine, and other fermented fruits. When Brandy is made with other sugary fruits, it is famous as a fruit brandy. Its alcohol percentage varies between 35 to 60 percent.
Brandy gets its colour from its ageing process. The longer its age, the better is its colour. If it is colourless, it is not aged. Usually, it is caramel that gives Brandy its colour and unique taste. The drink has various labels; its labels explain the number of years it is aged.
When the label states A.C, it is clear that it has aged for two years. V.S shows that it is an exceptional brandy aged for three years.
VSOP states that it is a very superior old pale brandy that has aged almost five years. When Brandy label says X.O., it is extra old and has aged more than or up to 6 years.
The vintage label style specified the date when the brandy was put into the barrel.
Process Of Making Brandy
You need to collect grapes and press them to bring out the juice. The juice is then set for the fermentation process to make wine.
After the wine is ready, it is collected and distilled. After this process, the wine is stored in oak barrels for two to three years.
Then it is blended and put into bottles. One of the most popular brands is Cognac, which is the specialty of France.
Critical Differences Between Brandy And Whisky
The essential ingredient of Whisky is a fermented grain like barley, corn, wheat, Rye, and more. At the same time, for making Brandy, sugary fruits like grapes are required.
Whisky is distilled beer. On the other hand, Brandy is distilled wine. The name itself is taken from the Dutch word brandewijn, meaning burnt wine.
You can make Whisky all around the year. In contrast, the production of Brandy depends on the output of the Grapes. Therefore, it is an agricultural spirit.
As Whisky is made from fermented grains, the taste of Whisky is sweet, peppery, and malty. But when it is in the malting process, peat gives it the final flavour before maturation. All the other smoky, creamy, spicy, and sweet notes come from the different oak barrels.
Brandy gets its flavour from the fermented fruit. It is much sweeter than Whisky. The amber colour, the taste of dry fruits, and spicy effects develop better when stored in oak casks.
The alcohol content in distilled beer that’s Whisky is 40 to 50 percent.
Brandy, however, has 35 to 60 percent alcohol. Some brandy (low wine) has 28 to 30 percent of ABV.
Brandy also has a much greater alcohol content than wines.
Brandy is thicker than Whisky as it is made with wine that we get from grapes. Brandy is much smoother and does not burn, unlike Whisky.
Whisky, on the contrary, is made from grain. Thus, it burns more and is less smooth.
Brandy is known to boost the immune system as it has anti-bacterial components. It certainly works on cold, cough, flu, and throat pain. Consuming Brandy helps in reducing the risk of cancer, reduces aging, and also improves heart health.
Whisky helps reduce weight, prevents blood clotting, and improves heart health. It is popular in reducing the risk of strokes and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Frequently asked questions
Which of the two drinks is better, Whisky or Brandy?
The answer is subjective and will depend upon the person. Some might like the bold notes of Whiskey while some like the fruity notes of Brandy.
As Whisky is stored in Oak barrels, it inherits the oak compounds that help protect our body’s healthy cells. On the contrary, the better is the quality of Brandy you consume, the better it is for your health.
Is Brandy more expensive than Whisky?
Some bottles of Brandy are more expensive than Whiskey. Cognac is one of the most costly Brandies in the world due to its complex spirits. Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne is a 100-year-old Cognac – is one of the most expensive alcohol drinks globally, worth two million dollars.
Brandy and Whisky are two very different alcoholic drinks. They vary in fragrance, taste, and even the primary ingredients.
The main similarity between the two is the colour. Whisky inherits its golden colour from oak barrels.
Although drinkers will continue to battle over which is better – Brandy or Whisky, both are equally good in my book.