The town of Cognac is where this charming spirit derives it’s name. The brandy’s made here are produced with strict standard hence the saying, “Cognac is a Brandy, however not every Brandy is Cognac”. By law, 90% of the grapes used to distill Cognac must be Ugni Blanc, yet Folle Blanche and Colombard are allowable. Aged in the finest Limousin & Tronçais barrels for a minimum of 2 years, Cognac is subsequently labeled under the following designations based on the youngest spirit in the bottle:
VS – ‘Very Special’ indicates 2 years
VSOP – ’Very Special Old Pale’ or ‘Very Superior Old Pale’ marks 4 years
XO – ‘Extra Old’ means at least 6 years
While these numbers are the minimum age of the youngest Cognac blended, many producers exceed the minimums by far. A great number of XO Cognac average 20 years of barrel aging.