The Pre-Prohibition Powerhouse. The Versatile and Valued.
By definition; Brandy is any spirit distilled from wine or any other fermented fruit juice. It can be aged (similar to cognac) or it can be unaged and produced from anywhere in the world. The primary difference between cognac and brandy is that cognac can only be produced in Cognac, France (similar to Champagne).
Brandy is very customizable spirit and just about every region of the world has their own version. In the United States we tend to favor apple-flavored products such as applejack. However around the world its common for any fruit to be the primary ingredient such as rakia šljivovica which is derived from plums.
Brandy, like Cognac comes typically in three common grades:
V.S. (Very Special): Also known as “three stars” designates a blend that has been cask stored for at least two years.
V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale): Also known as Reserve or “five stars” designates a blend that has been cask stored for at least four years.
X.O. (Extra Old): Also known as Napoleon indicates a blend that has been cask stored for at least six years.