The Cognac Delimited Area extends along the banks of the Charente all the way to the Atlantic coast, 465 kilometers south-west of Paris and 120 kilometers north of Bordeaux.
Cognac distillation is performed in a two-stage process:
Stage one: a first distillate is obtained, referred to as "brouillis", with an alcohol volume of 28 to 32%.
Stage two: The "brouillis" is returned to the boiler for a second heating, known as "la bonne chauffe".
Distilleries work day and night during the winter months. It is a time when the Charentais adapt their lives to the rhythm of the stills, in an atmosphere where the glow of the flames, the quiet bubbling of the alcohol, the water, the copper and the bricks form a marvelous combination.
***, V.S. (Very Special), Sélection, de Luxe. The youngest spirit of the assembly may not be less than four and a half years old. But often, the spirits are much older.
V.S.O.P., Réserve... The youngest spirit in the assembly for Very Superior Old Pales, also called Reserve Cognacs is between four and a half and six and a half years old.
Napoléon, Impérial, Hors d’âge, Vieille Réserve, X.O. All terms like Napoleon, XO or "very old" are assemblies of spirits that are at least six and a half years old. However, most Cognacs are well above this minimum imposed by the regulation. In fact some of the most prestigious names assemble spirits that are each at least dozens of years above the minimum required.
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