Cognac 101

The French have a saying about cognac and call it “l’eau de vie” or water of life. Cognac is made by first juicing grapes and allowing the juice to ferment for about three weeks. The processed wine is usually about 7 percent alcohol. Then distillation takes place two times concluding in a colorless spirit of about 70 percent alcohol. After the distillation process is finished, it is aged for a minimum of two years prior to being released and put on the market. The blend is usually a mixture of different aged spirits and a complex flavor can be crafted here by a master taster. 

Cognac is a French Brandy and is created by distilling wine. The most widely used grapes that produce Cognac are Ugni Blanc. In order for the alcohol to get the title of Cognac, it must be at least 40 percent alcohol. To make cognac, the brandy is distilled at least two times in copper pot stills and aged in French oak barrels made from the Forest of Troncais or Limousin regions. The VS grade or Very Special consists of a blend that includes Eaux-de-vie aged in oak barrels for at least 2 years. There are also other grades of cognac including VSOP (very superior old pale), and XO (extra old). VSOP cognac is aged at least 4 years and XO cognac is aged at least 6 years in the past and since 2018, has to be at least 10 years aged. There is also XXO (extra extra old) label and must be at least 14 years old. In terms of how you drink cognac, a rule of thumb is to drink older cognacs neat and younger cognacs on the rocks or in cocktails. 

Some other interesting facts about cognac are that all cognac is considered brandy but not the other way around. The vast majority of the distillate that makes cognac is from local French winegrowers and distillers. Busta Rhymes and P.Diddy’s hit single “Pass the Courvoisier” put cognac on the pop culture map. Other performers such as Victor Hugo and the Notorious B.I.G have also mentioned the tasty beverage. Try Hennessy for a great cognac experience. Order now, click HERE and get it delivered to your door!