When you ask, is Cognac better than Whisky, it’s always going to be a question that elicits an emotional response.  But we get asked it so many times that we’d be doing it a disservice by not adressing the question.  In our opinion, we think that Cognac is the more versatile drink, as it can be enjoyed neat, as a long drink, or in your favorite cocktail.   And yes, we hear the Whisky lovers cry, ‘but so can the love of our life!’

But come on guys, it’s pretty obvious that being as dedicated to eaux-de-vie as we are, we’re going to always side with Cognac.  And to prove a point, here’s our list of 10 reasons why Cognac is better than Whisky (or Whiskey).

cognac_vs_whiskey

The price for a bottle of Cognac can range from $35 for a young VS Cognac perfect for mixing, to hundreds of thousands of dollars for special edition Cognacs or very rare old bottles.

Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.
– Samuel Johnson

Go Samuel…!

Cognac & Whiskey

So, without any further ado, here are 10 reasons why Cognac is by far the superior tipple to Whisky:

  1. Cognac is the most complex spirit in the world to make.  It takes the longest time to produce – centuries, in some cases.  Therefore it’s also the most expensive spirit to consume.
  2. Cognac is made of grapes, Whisky is made from grains. Therefore Cognac can develop a variety of fruitful aromas, which Whisky cannot. Read our Cognac Whisky comparison article for more insight into this.
  3. Cognac is French.  The French know how to make good food. They also know how to make great wine – everyone knows that!  So anything that derives from wine AND originates from France – as Cognac does – must be the best.
  4. Cognac-making underlies extremely strict regulations. For example, Cognac can only be produced in the region of Cognac in France (which is near Bordeaux), while Whisky can be produced anywhere in the world.  Another rule for Cognac is that it must be distilled twice in order to qualify as a real Cognac.
  5. Rap. Cognac has Jay-Z, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, and many other rappers “bigging up” the drink – in their music and their personal life.  Whisky does not have such cool ambassadors.
  6. Cognac is fashionable, a color in fashion is actually named after it: “Have you seen those beautiful cognac-colored boots of the fall collection?”
  7. Cognac is the oldest and most traditional cocktail ingredient: Long before Whisky, Brandy was used in cocktails and long drinks.
  8. Cognac gives you no headache. It is very rare to get a headache after drinking Cognac.
  9. Cognac has much better story telling: For example, the Great French Emperor, Napoléon used to order barrels of fine Cognac to be delivered to the island of St Helena.
  10. Cognac is a region, a town, AND a spirit. That is, indeed, very hard to beat.

To wrap this up, we found two graphs we’d like to share (both via Google).

Mentions in books from 1800 until today: “Whiskey”, “Whisky”, and “Cognac”

cognac-whisky-whiskey-mentions-books

And here we have Google searches worldwide.

cognac-whisky-whiskey-trends
Images: D’Usse, Bacardi, Chateau de Cognac, www.lastminutethrowon.com

Author

Max is a spirits expert and speaker, into marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also a farmer. He likes tools and machines, Game of Thrones, and Better Call Saul. Included in his Top 10 Cognacs are the Audry XO and Bache Gabrielsen 1973.Max founded Cognac Expert in 2010 at his family’s estate in Poullignac, in the Cognac region, France. Started as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest website about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 800+ different Cognac bottles.

18 Comments

  1. So if cognac is so great, why cut it with tons of colourings and sugar? 90% of cognac is utterly crap…

  2. Gael – that still leaves 10% (or about 15,000,000 bottles a year) which, at the moment, is enough for those who care about what they are drinking.

    Cognac is the most noble spirit and there is still plenty of the really good stuff to be found – if you know where to look.

    Leave the coloured and sweetened stuff for the rappers and their followers, and seek out the smaller producers’ finest products, all at very reasonable prices and by far the most refined and delectable spirit on this planet.

  3. You do yourselves a disservice in comparing whisky to brandy. You will always be on a losing argument. French cognac/ brandy has a worthy place in our society but there are so many wonderful Scottish & Irish malt Whiskys out there although I have omitted the E out of the Irish whiskey as I do for the American excuse for what they call whiskey.

    Whisky & Cognac lover,
    Bob

  4. The whiskyboy of Nerike

    Is this even serious? Cognac is bygger because it’s french??? Oh it’s all rubbish

  5. I am polish and drink a lot of everything. Beers vodka whiskey etc. Here I am sitting Martel Cognac. I had about 5 drinks with ice and iced tea. Unbelievable. After 30 years of drinking I can’t believe I have no headache. This is incredible. We shall see how I fell in the morning but o man o man I can’t believe that I have no headache.

  6. Ahmann Jardir

    This is all correct. Cognac is better.

  7. haha this made me laugh. Scotch is far superior in terms of quality. Cognac can only really be compared to perhaps some of the cheaper whiskys, like the mass produced blends etc. If you’re comparing cognac with that, then it would be fairer ground. Otherwise there is no comparison. Top end Scotch is second only to top end wine in terms of the most premium alcohol one can buy.

  8. You had me at grape over grain. This is a great great article and I live the omission of you being a little bias. Overall, I’m sticking with Cognac because McCallan25 is whaaat too expensive?

  9. Well I don’t agree.
    First of all, Cognac is totally not famous in France, and I do know that : I’m French.
    97% of the production of Cognac is for export only.

    Second, to start to have a good Cognac (Which means something that make your mouth enjoying) you have to take at leat the XO or super old spécial éditions, which is very expensive.
    Otherwise, let’s be honest : this is pretty disappointing.

    And you cannot compare decently the art of the process of fabrication of Cognac and whiskey = this is a joke.
    But I do recognize the work of the maitre de chai to keep the same taste every year, despite the fact that all the house of Cognac are buying from a lot of different wine maker.

    The palet of taste that you can have in whiskey is far more wide, and that for much more cheaper price.

    But after all, tastes are are something very personnal.

  10. Great article. Cognac is by far the more elegant, the more noble and the more expensive drink. Beer is the most popular drink in the world but that doesn’t mean it’s the best drink. Cognac is a ROYAL drink, it’s not supposed to be popular. It has a royal history, it was drank at royal courts, whisky was not. Whisky has a smuggling history instead. Cognac is distilled wine, whisky is distilled beer. Wine is more elegant than beer which means cognac is more elegant than whisky. Deal with it. Just because you like beer more doesn’t mean beer is better than wine or whisky better than cognac. Popularity has nothing to do with what’s best. Cognac is the most elegant spirit by far.

  11. Katja (Cognac-Expert.com)

    Dear Gabi,

    Thanks for taking the time to elaborate your opinion on this matter!

    Have a great day,
    Katja

  12. Whisky has a more complex taste and aroma… Cognac is wine in a sense and I don’t like wine !! I believe it’s more personal taste But hey, whisky is far superior in my opinion.

  13. Mahmoud Ali

    I just read this article and have to say that it begins with a false premise. Cognac is considered the pinnacle of brandies while single malt Scotch is considered the pinnacle of whiskies. It is as absurd to compare Cognac with a world of whisky as it is to compare single malt Scotch with a world of brandies. There is a world of rough, coarse brandies as well as a rough, course whiskies. If you want to compare a superior product with another it is disingenuous not to compare it with a superior product.

    It is this false analogy that allows the author to pronounce that whiskey can be made anywhere in the world while ignoring the fact that brandy is also made anywhere in the world. There are strict regulations for Cognac and there are strict regulations for single malts.

    After this the comparisons descend into completely irrelevant issues. Cognac is a colour? For goodness sakes, so is shit. Unsophisticated rappers like cognac? Well they probably also like KFC and Big Macs! And whats with the cocktails? Surely that is a negative because usually the cheap stuff is used for mixing while the better stuff is for sipping. The winners in the cocktail sweepstakes I suspect would be rum, vodka and tequila.

    Anyway, I came to this site because I was trying to make an informed choice on deciding which of three sale-priced XO cognacs to choose: the Camus XO Elegance, the Drouet XO, or the Martell Cordon Bleu.

    Cheers …………….. Ali

  14. BeerLover44

    I enjoy both not particularly one over an another but these ten reasons are vacuous nonsense who cares if a rapper drinks or sings about cognac! I’m an adult, I don’t care if it’s cool, or not, I care if it’s quality in the end that’s all that matters whisky or cognac.

  15. Pepper001

    “Rap. Cognac has Jay-Z, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, and many other rappers “bigging up” the drink – in their music and their personal life. ”

    How is that a bonus??? Jezus!

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