Brandy poured from decanter to glass
What's The Difference Between Bourbon And Brandy?
With similar golden hues, brandy and bourbon look almost indistinguishable at a glance, but the two spirits are quite different from ingredients to production to flavor.
Brandy is distilled from fermented fruit, most commonly grapes, apples, or pears, and aged in oak barrels. Bourbon is distilled from corn mash and aged in charred oak barrels.
Brandy's taste depends on the fruit it is made from. Bourbon is more complex, as its mash must have 51% corn but can contain various other grains.
As a result, bourbon contains complex notes of caramel, vanilla, toffee, and a peppery smokiness, while brandy has a fruity flavor, either crisp, fresh fruit or warm, dried fruit.
While bourbon must be aged for at least two years in new charred oak barrels, brandy can be aged or unaged — the latter has a light, clear color and a distinct fruity essence.
Thus, brandy and bourbon aren't interchangeable, and while different types of brandy can be used in cocktails, bourbon is best in drinks that showcase its full-bodied taste.