A Cognac may only be soldy when its youngest eau-de-vie reaches a minimum of two and a half years old, as of the first day of October following the harvest of the grapes.
Only the years of storage in oak barrels count to determine its age.
Once transferred into glass, the Cognac stops maturing . It stands still.
V.S (for Very Special) , also called *** (or Three Stars) is a cognac which youngest eau-de-vie is at least two and a half years old.
V.S.O.P ( for Very Superior Old Pale) , also called Reserve, is a cognac which youngest eau-de-vie is between four and a half and six and a half years old.
XO (for Extra Old ) , Napoléon, also called Hors d'âge, is a cognac which youngest eau-de-vie is at least six and a half years old.
Most Cognac houses will use Cognacs much older than those required by law, allowing X.Os to reach a minimum of twenty years old, in order to reveal their very best.
Old gold in colour.
The nose has remarkable floral freshness with leafy undertones.
This first impression yields to fine spice, notably cinnamon and pronounced aromas of stewed fruit and quince. The palate is exceptional for its smoothness, packed with peach and apricot flavours and with a hint of resin and honey in an elegant and powerful finish.
Deep old gold in colour.
The nose epitomises Cognac having been aged for a prolonged period with a panoply of spicey and cigar-box aromas. With time oakier notes appear and damp leafy humus with a hint of forest mushroom.
The palate is long and spicy with honey and a slightly dry finish typical of such venerable Cognac.