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A spirit distilled from wine, and containing 37–44% (most usually 40%) alcohol by volume. The name is derived from the German brandtwein, meaning burnt wine, corrupted to brandy wine. First produced in 1300 at the Montpellier medical school by Arnaud de Villeneuve.

The age of brandy is generally designated as three-star (three to five years old before bottling); VSOP (very special old pale, aged four to ten or more years, the name indicating that it has not been heavily coloured with caramel); Napoleon (premium blend aged six to twenty years); XO, Extraordinary Old (Extra or Grand Reserve, possibly 50 years old). Cognac and armagnac are brandies made in defined regions of France.

Fruit brandies are either distilled from fruit wines (e.g. plum and apple brandies) or are prepared by soaking fruit in brandy (e.g. cherry and apricot brandies). See also eau-de-vie; marc.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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