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Every cognac is a brandy, but not every brandy can be a cognac. It is a distillate made from grapes grown only in the Cognac region (France). The name cognac / cognac is protected by international agreements exclusively for brandies from this region. Vine burnt elsewhere, although in the same way, is called brandy. Cognac differs from the related Armaňak by double distillation, a narrower assortment of used grape varieties and the size of the region and the appeal from which it comes. The Cognac area is larger than Armagnac and since 1908 has been divided into six appeals: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires.

The ancient method of double distillation of cognac in copper boilers has a complicated procedure. The separation of several fluid fractions must be strictly observed. The process takes 16 to 24 hours in one "batch". Distillation of the entire crop must be completed by 31 March (the next post-harvest). Then the clear distillate in the strength of 70% alcohol travels to oak barrels. The high volume of alcohol is reduced gradually, at various time intervals (according to the specified ripening time). The peak of cognac ripening is 50 years. After 60 years, cognac from barrel wood gets almost nothing, the quality can even deteriorate. Matured cognac is poured into glass demijohns, where it no longer matures. Mixing the sold mixed drink is a complete science. Some contain more than a hundred cognacs of various ages and tastes. The result reflects the art and taste of the blender master. Quality cognacs are filled into bottles, which are a gem in themselves. The first-class quality of the drink is combined with a work of art.

Cognacs are labeled with letters or names according to the age of the mixture and according to the youngest brandy in the mixture. In r. In 1865, Maurice Hennessy compiled an official scale that is still used today:

  • VS - Very Spéciale - a mixture of cognacs, the youngest of which is at least 2 years old
  • VSOP - Very Superior Old Pale - a mixture of cognacs, the youngest of which has min. 4 years
  • XO - Extra Old - a mixture of cognacs, of which the youngest mixture has a min. 6 years (from 2018 min. 10 years)

However, producers use significantly older types of cognac than the minimum required and therefore distinguish cognacs by other names:

  • Napoleon - ranks between VSOP and XO cognacs
  • Extra - ranks above XO cognacs
  • Hors d'Age - indicates high quality cognacs as old as 100 years
  • Vintage - vintage cognacs, the mixture is from one year


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