The French brandies Cognac and Armagnac are protected under the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) while the production of Calvados and Mirabelle is regulated under Appellation d’Origine Réglementée (AOR). Distinguishing the genuine products from imposters requires a fine nose, or a GC-MS.
Jérôme Ledauphin and co-workers, University of Caen, France, studied the volatile compounds of these brandy classes, applying statistical analyses to the integration of the mass spectra to identify specific markers of each class.
Mirabelle was shown to contain high levels of aldehydes and acetals, Calvados contained derivatives of acrolin and butan-2-ol, Cognac had distinctive furanic compounds, while Armagnac had the markers 1-(ethoxyethoxy)-2-methylbutane and γ-eudesmol.
The differences between the wine based brandies, Armagnac and Cognac, are attributed to differences in the distillation process.
- Differences in the Volatile Compositions of French Labeled Brandies (Armagnac, Calvados, Cognac, and Mirabelle) Using GC-MS and PLS-DA
J. Ledauphin, C. Le Milbeau, D. Barillier, D. Hennequin
J. Agric. Food Chem. 2010, 58.