Did you know that sipping brandy can help prevent wrinkles and poor vision? However, with so many brandy brands in the market, it may be difficult to choose which one to go with.
We took the liberty of creating a pricing guide to help you choose the best Eaux de Vie that would suit your taste!
What is Brandy?
Brandy is a type of liquor made from distilled wine . Typically, it is formulated with fruit ingredients such as white grapes, but brandy can also be produced using fermented fruit of any kind. There are different types to choose from, and each type of brandy is characterized by specific ingredients and age that affect its flavors and prices.
Today, there are lots of manufacturers that produce the best-tasting brandies in the market. While choosing which brand is the smoothest depending on their age is sometimes confusing, it’s always a relief to know that it’s not that hard to find the perfect bottle of Eaux de Vie that suits your taste and budget!
How It’s Made
Brandy is a liquor made by distilling fermented fruit juice like grapes and apple. All forms of spirits have their unique requirements to be categorized as brandy called “jurisdictional requirements.” For instance, in the European Union, liquor is considered brandy if it is made from distilled grape-based wine in the region. This means that fruit products are eliminated from the spirits category as the EU region requires brandy to be at least six months old inside the oak barrel or cedar casks.
In the US region, brandy producers have different requirements in every region. They have a more strict aging process that requires brandy to be aged at least two years in oak casks.
Brandy Pricing Information
|Brand||Country||Category||Type||ABV%||Average Price Range|
|Remy Martin||France||Best Overall||Cognac||40%||$39 – $95,000|
|Hine Antique||France||Best Premium||Cognac||40%||$199 – $230|
|Martell||France||Smoothest||Cognac||40%||$34 – $3,398|
|Courvoisier||France||Best Rated||Cognac||40%||$20 – $199|
|Paul Masson||United States||Most Versatile||Brandy||40%||$16 – $22|
|E & J||United States||Most Awarded Brandy||Brandy||30%||$12 – $22|
|Presidente||Mexico||Best Mexican Brandy||Brandy||40%||$18 – $24|
|Germain Robin||France||Best Tasting||Brandy||40%||$50 – $60|
|Christian Brothers||United States||Best Well Brandy||Brandy||40%||$12 – $21|
|Lepanto||Spain||Most Fragrant||Brandy||40%||$26 – $47|
|Korbel||United States||Most Affordable||Brandy||40%||$11 – $45|
|Camus||France||Best Tasting||Cognac||40%||$70 – $150|
|Hennessy||France||Most Popular||Brandy||40%||$33 – $229|
|Delamain||France||Best French Cognac||Cognac||40%||$142 – $6,000|
|Emperador||Philippines||Best Filipino Brandy||Brandy||40%||$13 – $31|
|Torres 10||Spain||Best Budget||Brandy||40%||$13 – $20|
|Asbach||Germany||Best Value||Brandy||38%||$22 – $34|
3 Types of Brandy
Unlike other liquor products, the differences in each type of brandy are very evident . The three types of brandy are:
This is essentially made from spirit-distilled wine using grapes or any fruit. A lot of brandy products are under this type, including Christian Brothers, Asbach, and Emperador. If you’re on a budget, brandy might be a good choice for you. In terms of quality, this is as good as the other types of spirits in the market, like apple brandy.
This is made in the Cognac region, France – a region known for producing delicate cognac products. Some of the most popular brands you can choose from include Courvoisier, Hennessy, Remy Martin, and Hine Antique. You can splurge on these premium drinks for the best flavor and spirits if you have the money.
This is a less popular type of brandy. However, it’s also made in France, specifically in the region called Armagnac. You can say that this type of brandy is a craft brandy specially produced and aged in the European outskirts. Unlike cognac, this is produced in smaller quantities making it lesser-known.
Brandy & Cognac
How They’re Made?
Brandy can be produced in various parts of the world, but cognac is exclusively made in a region in France using locally-grown white grapes. Generally, both types of brandy contain 35 to 60% alcohol by volume. While brandy is essentially made from grapes, other fermented fruit can also be used. However, if you use other fruits to produce brandy, it will be called “fruit” brandy, such as Poire William pear brandy or apple brandy.
“In winter, you might want to cozy up to a brandy with some age and a fuller body, whereas the summer months might call for something youthful, lively and more floral.” -Franky Marshall, Certified Cognac Expert.
On the other hand, Cognac is a more complex product since it has to be produced in the Cognac region, Southwest France, to be called as such. It is distilled twice in copper pot stills before putting the product in french oak barrels or casks to age in at least two years.
Why is Cognac Expensive?
There is a good reason why cognac is more pricey than other liquors. This ultra-exclusive product is specially produced in the Cognac region, making it almost as exclusive as Scotch Whiskey. However, cognac is more exclusive in its fine ingredients, such as the white grapes grown under specific French terroirs.
For example, the most exclusive cognac you can find in the region is the Grande Champagne.
How to Drink Brandy & Cognac?
Brandy is usually mixed with other beverages such as wine to create a perfect balance in cocktails, but it can also be enjoyed in its pure form. When drinking brandy without any other mixers, make sure it’s at room temperature. These rich aromatic notes are even more enjoyable at the optimal temperature to bring out different aromas and flavors even your nose can taste.
If you want to drink it in a standard way, leave it on the table for an hour before pouring some into your tulip glass or snifter to savor the spirit. Hold the glass for a while to allow the liquid to become warm before you sniff from the rim.
Sipping a small amount and letting the liquor roll around your mouth until you’ve savored the rich flavor for a warm finish is truly an enjoyable way to down these hard drinks. Some even add ginger to add a kick on its spirit.
Popular Brandy-based Cocktails
As an essential ingredient, cognac is becoming more in-demand in the craft cocktail market . Make sure to put it on your cart when shopping for some brandies. Here are some of the most popular aged brandy-based cocktails you should try:
This traditional blend uses brandy or cognac, lemon juice, orange zest, and spices as the main ingredients. The fruity flavors are sweet, spicy, and sour, making it one of the most popular choices for all types of drinkers. If you want a brandy-based beverage that goes down smoothly, this will make a great option.
This is a blend of aged Champagne wine and Eux de Vie spirit, as its name suggests. It’s an elegant concoction commonly served during parties where guests want to sip the sweetness of champagne and the strong notes of brandy in a snifter. If you’re looking for a gentler brandy-based wine beverage, this might be a perfect choice.
This brandy-based dessert beverage is modernized after supper tradition. The ingredients include cream, brandy, and creme de cacao – creamy flavors mixed with the subtle spirit of brandy. Brandy Alexander is a favorite choice among brandy lovers who also enjoy delectable desserts. Looking for a brandy-based fruity dessert beverage? Try this one with pears, apples, toasted almonds, walnuts, vanilla, or baking spices!
This is another popular brandy-based beverage. Manhattan is easy to prepare; you just need to blend some ice, fruit syrup or vanilla, sweet vermouth, figs, and brandy. The notes are sweet and smooth, making this drink a favorite choice for casual drinkers who want to get the best of both worlds. You can also add Pinot Noir wine if you’d like.
Brandy & Coke
The simplicity of this traditional blend makes it a popular brandy-based drink around the world. You only need to blend coke and an aged brandy to achieve the richness of both flavors in one glass. You can also add some lemonade extract to release more tangy notes. Brandy & coke is a perfect drink when you want to chill and relax after a long day at work.
When you see this label on the bottle, it means they are aged for two years. This label is also known as the youngest brandy. However, it also indicates that the brandy is of the lowest quality, but that doesn’t mean you get less for your money as brandies with the AC label are often used as cocktail mixers to enjoy more notes.
VS or Three Stars
VS stands for Very Special, which also means the brandy spends at least three years in barrels. This is the second youngest brandy that offers better quality in terms of notes and smoothness. You can also check the three stars on the label if you want to enjoy VS cognac.
VSOP or Five Stars
Liquors that are aged for at least four years are labeled with Very Superior Old Pale or VSOP. This means the brandy is more mellow compared to other categories due to longer aging in barrels.
This one is very simple. When you see XO on a bottle of brandy, it means it’s Extra Old. Usually, XO bottles have been aged for a minimum of six years in oak barrels to achieve a stronger spice flavor. Brandies with XO labels can be a little bit more expensive than the previous categories.
This translates to ‘beyond age” and is labeled on brandies that have been aged for six years and beyond in barrels. They are more popularly known as vintage spirits, and everyone knows them as “the best of the best.”
Factors That Affect Brandy Pricing
The longer a brandy is aged in oak, the better the flavors are. The normal aging period is up to 30 years to bring out an impressive variety of notes, and if the brandy spends more time in French oak casks, that means they go unsold, making them even pricier once they’re ready to sell.
Cognac is one of the most expensive liquors in the market because they are made from white grapes from France and other regions. If spirits are made from fruit like grapes that are grown in Cognac, a region in Southwest France, it will surely be more costly to buy.
Leading brands of brandy are often more expensive than unpopular ones because of their reputation in the market. Longer established brands have the authority to demand higher price tags because of their proven quality and standard.
Each brand has unique qualities, such as a flavor profile that make them stand out. Cognac, for example, is a blend of different distilled wines to achieve certain flavors. Camus is a brand known as one of the best-tasting liquors because of its rich flavor. On the other hand, Hennessy is the most popular because it’s made with high-quality grapes from France. In terms of aroma, Lepanto is the go-to brand for drinkers due to its very fragrant spirit.
What’s the difference between brandy and cognac?
The main difference between brandies and cognacs is the country where they are produced. The former is produced anywhere across the globe, while cognac is exclusively made in France and other regions.
What’s the best way to drink brandy?
The best way to drink or sip cognac, Armagnac, or other types of spirits is to use a tulip glass so that drinkers can savor the spirit. The rim and bowl allow the spirit to touch the right portion of the tongue and deliver the aroma to the nose.
What’s the smoothest brandy?
The smoothest brandy is a bottle of Martell cognac from France. It’s made with 40% alcohol by volume for an even-textured glide down the throat.
What’s a good yet inexpensive brandy?
You can buy a good yet inexpensive brandy bottle of Korbel or Torres 10 with both 40% ABV and a faster-aging process.
The aging period, fruit or grape quality, brand authority, and unique qualities are mostly impacted by the prices. Our pricing chart will guide you in finding the best Eaux de Vie brandy for you in terms of category, type, region, and price range. Cognac is considered a premium brandy as it’s made in France using high-quality grapes.
Our team weighed up the individual qualities, aromas, and other essential factors to categorize each brandy for you . With a wide variety of brandies in the market, it’s easier to make a choice when you know the different brands of brandy that can meet your expectations and of course, your budget.
Most of the time, accurate prices matter when selecting a brand that can offer you the ultimate satisfaction. The top 15 brandies mentioned above are all great choices that will surely create a smoother and more variety of notes – yes, this includes the youngest brandy on the list!
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds!