Cognac is a premium spirit drink and the price speaks well in that respect. Expectedly, a shot of cognac should cost more than that of ordinary brandy – but when it sells for £10,014, then tongues will wag.
Tongues definitely went wagging when a 40ml serving of Rome de Bellegarde sold in London’s Hyde Kensington bar sold for £10,014. The new price set a new world record for cognac sales on Wednesday night.
Believed to be the very first blend created by Jean Fillioux in 1894, the cognac was discovered in the cellars of cognac house Jean Fillioux by fifth generation cellar master Pascal Fillioux.
Cognac enthusiasts and industry experts gathered to witness the first pour, with an official adjudicator from the Guinness World Records also present at the historic event.
Ranjeeta Dutt McGroarty, the founder and director of Trinity Natural Gas, tasted the rare tipple first, breaking the Guinness World Record for the price of the most expensive shot of cognac in the process.
Rome de Bellegarde founder David Smeralda said:
“We are so excited for Rome de Bellegarde to be available for the first time in over 120 years.
“Since its discovery in 2004, this incredible batch has been destined to be enjoyed by those that love and cherish truly pure cognac.”
The previous Guinness World Record for the most expensive cognac sold was for 68,000 Hong Kong dollars (£7,072) at InterContinental Hong Kong, China, on November 9, 2016.
The brand has decanted the spirit into 67 French crystal bottles.
Jamie and Deolu walked into the bar after a long Wednesday meeting, and the bald headed bartender cheerfully offered, “Cognac and Whisky.”
Both surprised, Deolu asked, “Why?” The bartender replied, “Because I know you both need a strong drink to numb the stress.”
“So why not offer us just one, rather than the two?” Jamie queried.
“There is beauty in variety, and I wanted to give you the option of choice,” said the bartender.
“What is the difference between Cognac and Whisky?” Deolu bellowed.
Then there was SILENCE as all three had no idea.
Noticing the awkward silence, the www.drinks.ng delivery man offered to help them out.
“Here is the difference between Cognac and Whisky,” he said…
The major difference between the two spirits is that while Cognac is made from grapes,Whisky is made from grains. However, both go through the process of fermentation which converts sugar to alcohol.
Again, both spirits are aged in casks which gives both drinks the required colour, and of course the taste.
Whisky are made from fine grains, mostly barley. The grains are then mixed with water and yeast, before distillation. The distilled spirit then is aged in oak barrels.
Cognac, on the other hand, is made from grapes which are then pressed to extract the juice.The juice is then fermented for about 5 days before distilling. Cognacs go through a double distillation process, before the eaux-de-vie is stocked in oak casks to age.
How long do both age?
Cognacs are usually aged for at least a period of 2 1/2 years, and can take up to 200 years for some. For whisky, no precise age is given for aging any particular whisky, but most of the high-end whisky have been stored for up to 18 years.
However, UK and EU law insist that Scotch Whisky should be at least three years old.
While cognac uses age terms like VOP, VS, VSOP or XO, Whiskey shows the exact age of its content: for example 3, 5, 10, 12 or 15 years.
Any difference in drinking Cognac and Whisky?
Cognac is seen more like a ‘digestif’ – that drink you take as dessert after having a sumptuous dinner, Whisky is not seen in such a cliche and conservative light.
While cognac maybe taken along with coffee, one may drink a whiskey with water. Many consider it inappropriate to splash a little water in cognac. The explanation being that because Cognac is made from fruits and Whisky from grains, the structure is different and one may not tolerate water as the other would.
Well, while water may not be good for cognac, no need to worry as it is fast (re)becoming a cocktail drink, having been a huge ingredient for cocktails in the past.
US Hip Hop mogul, Jay-Z had a luxurious drinking night in Manhattan that saw him spend more than $110,000 to celebrate the birthday of Juan “OG” Perez, his close friend and president of Roc Nation Sports.
Jay was absent from the NBA All-Star game as he took OG Juan and a group of Roc Nation executives to Zuma in Midtown for dinner, covering the $13,000 tab at the end of the night.
From Zuma, Jay and his crew headed uptown to Made in Mexico in Inwood, where he spent $9,000 on drinks, including D’Ussé cognac. That was followed by a stop at nearby nightclub Playroom, where Jay ordered and paid full price for 40 bottles of Ace of Spades Champagne, despite being down to a group of six by then. The rapper was seen handing bottles out to other tables in the club.
The Playroom server who served Jay and his friends posted his check on Snapchat, which came to a whopping $91,135, which included an epic $11,000 tip. The receipts show that Jay Z and his friends spent a total of $91, 125 on drinks in one night at PlayHouse club, which amounts to about N32m.
Considering that Jay owns the Ace of Spades champagne brand, and also has a stake in D’Ussé cognac, it is certain his money will be coming back to him anyways. That’s just how the rich stay wealthy guys!
Regular exercise is said to make one live to a ripe old age, but it seems to drink alcohol trumps what exercise is capable of.
A recent long-term study has found that regular moderate intake of alcohol will help you make it to your 90’s better than exercise can.
The team of scientists from the University of California led by neurologist Claudia Kawas tracked 1,700 nonagenarians enrolled in the 90+ Study that began in 2003 to explore impacts of daily habits on longevity.
According to The Independent, researchers found that subjects who drank two glasses of beer or wine a day were 18 percent less likely to die prematurely. On the other hand, participants who exercised 15 to 45 minutes a day, cut the same risk by 11 percent.
“I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity,” Kawas stated over the weekend at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Austin, Texas.
Asides the modest drinking, other factors found to boost longevity included weight. Participants who were slightly overweight — but not obese — cut their odds of an early death by 3 percent.
“It’s not bad to be skinny when you’re young but it’s very bad to be skinny when you’re old,” Kawas noted in her address.
More so, participants who kept busy with a daily hobby two hours a day were 21 percent less likely to suffer an early death, while those who drank two cups of coffee a day reduced the risk by 10 percent.
Further study is needed to determine how habits impact longevity beyond people’s genetic makeups.
Drinking cognac is a wonderful experience with all the rich, spiced flavours of the eaux-de-vie gracing your palate for that amazing mouthfeel. No wonder it is considered one of the world’s finest alcohol beverages.
Considering that cognac is a premium brandy, respect should be given to the drink especially as regards how it is consumed. However, many of us make the mistake of drinking cognac out of the wrong glass, which does no good for the flavours released when we pour.
For cognac purists, there are only two types of glasses you should drink cognac out of – a ‘Tulip Glass,’ or a ‘Balloon Snifter.’
The Tulip glass is widely heralded as the king of cognac glasses. It is a long, bell-like wine glass which allows the aromas to concentrate on the surface of the cognac.
The design of the tulip creates a maximum surface area for the cognac, and at the same time directs the flavours and bouquet upwards towards the nose. The creates a maximum impact on the senses as the aromas are concentrated, giving you a better drinking experience.
The tulip comes with a long stem that extends up to a wide bowl. The bowl is curved inward then flares slightly at the rim – creating a mental picture of the flower from which the glass derives its name. It is typically used for drinking XO cognacs and other vintage cognacs.
Balloon Glass or Snifter
This also known as the Brandy Ballon or the Brandy Snifter. It is the traditional glass used in drinking all types of brandy, including cognac. The balloon is of two types – the classic (large) balloon and the regular (small) balloon.
The regular balloon is used for non-vintage cognacs while the classic balloon is used for vintage cognacs. The classic balloon has more space to accentuate the deep flavours of the cognac.
The balloon has a short stem and a wide bowl that narrows as it extends to the rim. This accentuates the flavours of the cognac. However, the effects are to a lesser degree than those experienced with the tulip glass.
The Wobble glass is a 21st century re-designed regular snifter. It is a trendy looking glass that comes without a stem. As such, they can’t be put down, forcing you to hold the cognac in your hand and bring it to temperature with the warmth of your palms.
The warmth further releases the intense flavours of the cognac, making it hit the nose pleasantly with every sip.
So which glass is the best?
For Cognac experts and purists, the tulip glass is most prefered. It is believed that the glass catches the aroma perfectly while letting it aerate sufficiently.
The snifter is, however, most popular among the regular cognac drinking crowd. In addition, the snifter has an elegant design that speaks of old-fashioned style and is sync with the elegance of the drink.
The most important thing, though, is to use a glass that will allow the liquor breathe freely, while also directing the aromas upwards to the nose.
With the proliferation mixed drinks and cocktails, it is permitted to use any other type of glass that matches your mixer. You can use tall or short glasses, martini glasses, or rock glasses.
For improvisational purposes, you can always use a regular wine glass with a rim that narrows upwards. Although, for the best cognac tasting experience, we would advise you get a set of tulip glasses or snifters.
Alcohol is capable of many things including the ability to make us immediately appear more attractive to others than normal.
Don’t get us wrong, there is absolutely nothing attractive about a man or woman staggering back home after a rough night. So to get the best out of this magical ability of alcohol, as in all other benefits, moderate drinking is encouraged.
As a matter of fact, it goes both ways – alcohol can affect the way we see and are seen, by people. This just proves that the beer goggles theory is as real as we can imagine.
There is scientific proof
Just in case you have more doubts lingering on your mind, several scientific studies have proven the ability of moderate drinking making you appear immediately attractive.
At the University of Bristol in the UK, 40 students were supplied with wine but were asked to take photos of each other sober before the drinking commenced. They also took a photo of each participant after one drink, then after a second.
The photos taken after just one drink has been consumed were judged as more attractive than the sober photos. However, the photos taken after students drank more than one glass, were rated as less attractive than when they were sober.
“It suggests that, if it’s true, people are rated as more attractive once they’ve consumed a small amount of alcohol,” said the study’s senior researcher, Marcus Munafò, a professor of biological psychology at the University. “But if they go on to consume more alcohol, they’re no longer rated as more attractive.”
The study suggested that a single alcoholic drink could make people seem more attractive because it caused facial muscles to relax, pupils to dilate and cheeks to flush.
“Rosiness is attractive because it characterizes good physical health characteristics,” said Professor Munafò.
This gives us a confidence boost to have a glass of wine or a tot of whiskey before walking up to your crush to drop that cool pick up line.
Whether in form of business innovation, artistic creations, scientific experiments, creativity is something we all crave for – even more than alcohol.
Often times, we engage in certain rituals in the hope to boost our creativity. Meditation, sleep, exercise and alcohol are some of the means through which we try to bring our creativity to life.
We don’t know much about the others, but alcohol certainly is a catalyst for being more creative.
How does alcohol boost creativity?
The answer certainly revolves around the effect of alcohol on the brain. It loosens the brain’s controlling instincts, thus allowing you spontaneous thoughts to infiltrate your head. It is one of such thoughts that births a new idea or solves a persistent problem – creatively.
Getting alcohol into our system usually leads to ‘executive functioning’ in our brain, processes that involve focus and planning. This comes about through an altered state of consciousness induced by alcohol. No wonder people come up with the most amazing thoughts when they have a glass or two of wine, whiskey or cognac.
However, the underlying factor is that getting overly drunk does nothing in getting us to think creatively. Getting tipsy is what triggers the creativity.
Scientists Even Have A Proof
Scientific research has corroborated the fact that a drink can help us become more creative in our thoughts and actions as it frees up the brain to think in a different way.
It doesn’t immediately turn you into Picasso or Einstein, but the equivalent of a pint of beer or a small glass of wine was proven by Austrian scientists to help in unleashing creativity.
‘We wanted to do this study because alcohol is so linked with creativity and great writers like Ernest Hemingway,’ said lead author Dr Mathias Benedek, from the University of Graz in Austria.
‘Previous research has found almost half of the great writers had a history of drinking.
‘We found that a small drink can indeed help with certain aspects of creativity, although it may make hard, focused work more difficult.
‘So it might well work for someone who is sitting down to do creative writing or brainstorming ideas in a boardroom.’
Seventy participants were given a drink of either beer or non-alcohol beer, which they were unable to distinguish between. Half of the participants were given a 0.5% lager, while the other half were asked to drink a 5.2% beer, which they weren’t able to distinguish between.
They were then given a word association task, which included determining one word linking the three words Swiss, blue and cake. The answer is ‘cheese’ and the second group, who had the stronger beer, scored an average of 6/10 in the test. The other half of drinkers scored an average of 4/10.
The alcohol-drinkers also exceeded in a creative thinking task, in which they had to suggest alternative uses for tyres with “a swing” deemed one of the most creative answers.
The classification for XO Cognac will change from six years old to a 10-year minimum from April 1st 2018 according to a statement from the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC).
The statement explains that the new classification is designed to “align the regulation and the market reality, and also to extend the quality positioning of XO (XO covering ‘Out of Age’, ‘Extra’, ‘Ancestral’, ‘Gold’ and ‘Imperial’ designations as well).”
The idea to change the classification for XO was first raised back in 2011. However, the BNIC stalled on implementing the new rule in order to allow brands to adapt to the change. The BNIC also noted that many brands were already using 10-year-old eaux-de-vie for their XOs.
In the case of any producer who has still not sold through its stocks of younger XO, any spirits classified as XO bottled by 31 March (though not yet shipped) that contain spirit of six, seven, eight or nine years will be allowed to be sold until 31 March 2019. Such producers wishing to take advantage of this, however, will have to make a declaration to the BNIC. The declaration will be matched with matching predesignated BNIC rules concerning packaging.
The expression XOwas used for the first time in 1870. An XO Cognac can also be called “Napoleon” or “Old Reserve.” The designation of ‘Napoleon’ Cognac will remain unchanged with the minimum required age of the spirit used being six years.
Like every other aspect of human activity, drinking alcohol comes with its own myths which people have come to believe as truths.
There are some who believe that eating before drinking will reduce the level of intoxication. There are also others who feel that brown spirits cause more severe hangovers than their clear counterparts. Don’t cling too much to these myths as alcohol is alcohol and will knock you off anyways if you take beyond your limit.
We are all about responsible drinking, and while you are at it, here are some truths about alcohol we thought you should have at your fingertips.
5 Truths About Alcohol
Coffee Does Not Sober You Up
Don’t go with the myth that drinking coffee will help knock away your hangover. To sober up, the alcohol has to metabolize in your system. You will have to wait a few hours for that to happen. What caffeine actually does is to heighten your senses, causing you to appear more sober while still intoxicated.
Beer Belly Comes from too Much Beer
This myth is older than most of us started drinking, that does not make it true though. Generally drinking too much of alcohol will lead to more calories which results in weight gain. This means that adding a few more pounds around your midriff is not entirely down to the beer you have been drinking. It can be the glass of wine from Adeolu’s birthday party, or shots of tequila you had at Angela’s engagement party last night. In any case, there is no need to single out beer as the sole cause of a “beer belly.” Calories can come from any beverage, even non-alcoholic ones.
Adding Energy Drinks to Alcohol Will Reduce Intoxication
Hell no! Energy drinks work contain caffeine, and the effect of it will only give you a hyper feeling. It does not reduce the alcohol volume in your liquor or slow down your intoxication process by any means. Adding energy drinks to alcohol, in fact, leads to what is called “wide awake drunkenness.” The stimulants in the energy drink gives you a sobering effect while the alcohol takes its course. Medical experts advise that energy drink and alcohol mixed together is no good for the human system.
Alcohol Destroys Brain Cells
The extremely smart ones are scared by this myth. Thus, they choose to shy away from alcohol rather than indulge. This myth is completely untrue as alcohol does not kill off the entire brain cells. It only disrupts the flow of communication between neurons, alters their structure, and causes some of the impairment we experience when drunk. Now you know your brain cell is safe, it is no reason for you to drink irresponsibly.
Dark Spirits Cause More Hangover Than Lighter-Coloured Ones
Alcohol is alcohol, and once you take too much, be set for a severe hangover in the morning. This means that choosing vodka or gin over brandy or whiskey will not help you avoid hangover. It is true that congeners, which are by-products of alcohol fermentation and a leading cause of hangover, are much more present in dark liquors than clear ones. However, the secret to not being hungover is drinking responsibly, not avoiding one liquor for the other.
Having a glass of brandy, cognac, whisky and/or bourbon in a bar, a family dinner or any social gathering is a common sight for us all.
However, if some of them were to be asked what particular drink they were having, there would be feather-drop (we don’t do pin-drop no more) silence.
So what is the big deal about all these spirit drinks and their names? What is whisky, cognac and brandy? What makes them different from each other? And why would you prefer one to the other?
Definitions of Brandy, Cognac & Whisky
The name ‘brandy’ comes from the Dutch “branwijn”, which means “burnt wine.” Brandy is an spirit beverage distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice.
Typically distilled from wine, brandy is aged in old casks for a period of up to 2-3 years to achieve and alcohol volume of 40%. However, while some brandy are aged in wooden casks, others have caramel put into it to give it its brown colour, and some are still aged even after adding caramel.
Whisky is a spirit distilled from fermented grain mash. The main grain varieties used are in the production of whisky include wheat, rye, barley, and corn.The liquor is aged in wooden barrels after distillation. Whiskey is made all over the world with the most popular being Scotland, Ireland, Canada, & America.
Bourbon is whisky distilled in the United States of America. Its name comes from Bourbon County, Kentucky, from where it originated. Also aged in oak barrels, it is free from any artificial colouring or additives.
Cognac is French brandy which is made from special grapes that are grown in the specified region of Cognac (from where it gets its name) in France. It is distilled in pot stills and must be at least 40% proof. It has to meet certain legal requirements in production methods known as Appellation d’origine contrôlée.
Difference Between Brandy and Cognac
The very first thing to note about both alcoholic beverages is that all cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is cognac.
The most pioneering difference between both of them is that brandy is distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice while cognac is a French brandy which is made from special grapes grown in Cognac.
Cognacs are usually expensive as they are higher quality brandy distilled from special grapes while brandy are usually on the cheap side and may not be produced by some brand or trademark alcohol maker. The price of brandy is in line with how long it has been aged for. Cognac are expensive because of the distillation and aging process that follows its production.
Due to its high quality, cognac is considered a much more premium spirit than brandy, which in most cases are not exceptional.
Aside from fermented wine, brandy can also be made from apples, pears and other sweet fruits. Cognac, on the other hand, is the brand name for spirits made from Ugni Blanc grapes that are grown in the Cognac region of France. To bear the name Cognac, it meets certain legal requirements with respect to production methods. Brandy can be made in any country of the world, whereas cognac must be made in France alone, and MUST come from the French Cognac region.
There is no particular aging period for brandy as it can be aged from one year to three or even more, depending on the production house. Cognacs are aged at least two years in French oak barrels and it can be aged up to twenty five years too.
Difference between Whisky and Bourbon
Whisky is made all over the world with the more popular countries being Scotland, Ireland, Canada and America. Bourbon, on the other hand is whisky made only in the US, with most coming from the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. Tennessee Whiskeys, however, don’t use the name Bourbon on their label.
Whisky is made from different grain mash which includes barley, rye, wheat while bourbon makes use of 51% of corn grains in its production.
Bourbon is also stored in new charred-oak barrels, whereas whisky barrels, although they must be oak, do not necessarily need to be new or charred.
To be called bourbon, the liquor needs to be distilled to no more than 160 proof and entered into the barrel at 125. For other whiskies, the liquid must be distilled to no more than 190 proof.
One underlining fact is that even though other whiskies may adhere to the same recipe and distillation guidelines, they cannot qualify as bourbon once made outside the USA.
Whereas most whisky produced in America arecalled bourbon, whiskey made in Tennessee categorizes itself as different from bourbon.
The legal requirements for whiskey to be called Tennessee Whiskey are that the whiskey should be:
distilled in Tennessee
made from at least 51% corn
filtered through maple charcoal, and
aged in new, charred oak barrels.
Jack Daniel’s, one of the largest whiskey producers in the world is referred to as a Tennessee whiskey as it follows the above processes. The company were highly instrumental in getting the state legislature to create such stringent requirements for labeling Tennessee Whiskey.
However, UK-based Diageo, which is one of the major producers of whiskey in the state and owns Tennessee’s No. 2 whiskey distiller George Dickel, oppose these criteria and are lobbying to have them loosened.
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