About Cognac

Cognac” is a brandy made of white whines. First this white wine gets distilled two times and afterwards you store it for at least 2 years in wooden barrels. Afterwards you have a VS Cognac:

 

VS Cognac: Very Special

or ✯✯✯ (three stars) where the youngest brandy is aged at least two years in oak casks.

 

VSOP Cognac: Very Special

(less commonly, but officially according to the BNIC, ‘Superior’) Old Pale, where the youngest brandy is aged for at least four years in barrels, but the average wood age is much older.

The origin of the world goes back to an order from the British Royal House in 1817. The Royal House was interested in a “cognac pale”, a Cognac which is not sweetened or coloured by adding sugar or caramel. At that time it was quite common to take advantage of using additives. In the beginning of the Cognac culture, it was either cognac or cognac eau de vie.

 

XO Cognac: Extra Old

where the youngest eaux-de-vie is aged for at least 6, but average upwards of 20 years. From april 10th 2016 on the minimum age for XO Cognacs will be set to 10 years. The expression XO was used for the first time in 1870.

Braastad Cognac XO

Braastad Cognac XO

Cognac is named after the town of Cognac in France. Cognac is one of the famous variety of brandy produced and is sometimes known as the “mother of brandy”.

All cognac is brandy, but, as the French will remind you, not all brandy is cognac. Like Champagne, the French region of Cognac (along the Charente River in the southwest of France, above Bordeaux) has zealously guarded its name; so has Armagnac, in the region of Gascony, which has produced its own wine distillate even longer than Cognac has. Distillers in other countries who use nearly identical processes must call their products “brandy,” although the word, which comes from the Dutch for “burnt wine,” is today applied to many other kinds of spirits as well. Even vodka, I learned on a recent trip to Stockholm, where I visited the excellent museum run by Vin&Sprit, the company that makes Absolut vodka, is still called “brännvin”–“burnt wine”–in Sweden, although its base was for a long time potatoes and wheat, and today is just wheat.

Cognac is also known as a healing drink, and has been known to relieve colds and headaches. Drinking around 15ml of Cognac regularly also helps protect you from heart disease.

 

More Cognac Terms

There are other expressions, let’s have a look at the following cognac grades:

  • Cognac Napoleon Officially Napoleon is equal to XO in terms of minimum age but normally marketed as an in-between of a VSOP and XO Cognac.
  • Cognac Extra At least 6 years aged in barrels, this grade is usually older than a Napoleon or an XO.
  • Vieux represents a grade between the official grades of VSOP and XO.
  • Vieille Réserve is more or less like Hors d’Age a grade beyond XO.
  • Hors d’âge Cognac The BNIC states it as being equal to XO, but it is actually used to communicate a very high quality product, which is beyond the official age scale. Hors d’age means: beyond age.

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