Ever have Soberano Brandy? Brandy is the generic name for a group of spirits that have been distilled from wine. Most wine producing countries also produce Brandy in some form or another. The best-known Brandy producers are France, and, to a lesser extent, Spain. French Brandy is made at varying levels of quality and prestige, though there are two areas making Brandy at the very top level: Cognac and Armagnac. In Spain, the two key regions for Brandy are Jerez and Penedès, and the base wines used tend to come from La Mancha. Let’s focus on Soberano Brandy, a famous Spanish example, and see how it compares with French Cognac.
Soberano Brandy and Cognac: How do they stack up?
First, let’s be clear: Not all Brandy is created equal. Some Brandy is intended to be unfussy and of entry-level quality. Others are prestigious and among the finest alcoholic drinks in the world, intended to be sipped and savoured much like a fine wine. Soberano Brandy belongs to the first category, while most Cognac will fall into the second. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to line them up and compare, to see how and why a quality Cognac is considered the superior drink. As we’ve got Spain’s most famous Brandy, let’s compare it with France’s most famous Cognac: Hennessy V.S.
Comparing Soberano Brandy with Hennessy V.S. Cognac
The difference in price alone will probably suggest that we’re dealing in two different leagues here, but let’s at least identify the players:
Let’s compare these two Brandies on a different aspects, and try to see if there are any surprises!
Soberano Brandy is Spanish, and is produced by the well-known Gonzalez Byass in Jerez. This region is, of course, best known for producing Sherry, though they make Brandy here too. Hennessy, on the other hand, is French. It is the best known producer in Cognac, which lies to the north of Bordeaux. Hennessy is a world-famous Cognac house, and is owned by the international luxury goods group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. In terms of prestige, Hennessy beats Soberano Brandy here for sure.
Cognac is considered to be one of the finest beverages known to man. There is very little bad Cognac, and the best examples are up there with single malt Scotch whisky in terms of complexity. Hennessy V.S. is not the top Cognac in the Hennessy portfolio, though it is the flagship product. Virtually every liquor or spirits store in the world sells it, and for many it is the only Hennessy product they’ll ever taste, so it’s gotta be good! Thankfully, it is. Hennessy V.S. is intense and full-bodied, with flavours ranging from citrus, oak, apple and grapes. How does Soberano Brandy compare?
Compared to Hennessy, Soberano Brandy can feel a little thin. It has aromas of toffee and vanilla, and is quite smooth on the palate. However, it is simply nowhere near as complex as the Cognac. Soberano Brandy is lighter, less complex and less refined than its pricier equivalent. Speaking of price…
Price is an important consideration for many, and why not? Hennessy – and any other Cognac, for that matter – simply cannot compete on price with Soberano Brandy. If you are looking for something cheap and cheerful, the Spanish bottle is your best bet – particularly due to its one-litre capacity. Those with a more discerning palate, however, may want to forget about Soberano Brandy altogether and opt instead for the finer, more balanced and luxurious option that is Hennessy V.S.
What is your favourite Brandy? Have you tried Spanish Brandy and French Cognac? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments!