Hi Rhapsody, just a quick list of some of the terms-
Cognac is a brandy (a fruit based spirit) that is made in from certain districts in southwestern France, distilled twice, and made from certain types of grapes. Armagnac is another grape brandy from a slightly different (though nearby) area of southwestern France, distilled once on a continuous still, and can use a few more grape varietals. Cognac can come only from the Cognac region, Armagnac from the Armagnac region. In Italy, it would just be a type of brandy. Grappa, which is made from pomace, has a very different character and tends to be very young.
Brandy de Jerez (Spanish brandy) is more syrupy, on the whole, than Cognac and Armagnac, and it's produced in a slightly different (solera) method. It has sherry sweetness because it's aged in barrels that used to hold sherry.
Marie Duffau is still produced (available, for instance, here: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1014551
) -- I haven't had it in a few years, but I recall it being sweet and with a caramel -- my notes, as it turns out, were:
A very pleasant, direct armagnac. Caramel and burned sugar dominate the nose, accompanied by some vanilla and roasted almond. The palate was very much of caramel, almost singularly so. I wonder how much caramel was added for color and taste. Easy drinking, every day armagnac with a medium finish.
Actually, the Marie Duffau seems to have those characteristics that you'd like to try.