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All about Cognac
Where does cognac come from?
Crafted carefully from distilled wine, true cognac hails, like the name suggests, from the area of Cognac in France. Cognac is a small town with around 20,000 inhabitants, located on the River Charente. When King Francis I granted the city the right to trade salt, Cognac became an important commercial center. This led to the success of liquor trading in the area.
Cognac brandy is a sophisticated choice for a date night with your spouse. You can sip it on its own, maybe in an attractive snifter, or unleash your inner mixologist and use it to create signature cocktails. Whatever your choice, don't forget to add appetizers with cheese, mushrooms or chocolate.
How is this delicious liquor produced?
The process to create this type of brandy is quite long, as the liquor distills twice in copper pot stills and is then transferred to oak barrels, where it ages for at least two years. Many production houses have aged cognac barrels from the 19th century that are still waiting to undergo the blending and bottling process. Good things come to those who wait. The raw material used in the production of cognac is a special variety of grape that only grows in the area.
VS vs. VSOP vs. XO cognac
There are three types of cognac: VS (Very Special), VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) and XO (Extra Old). VS liquors must age for at least two years, while VSOP cognac must age for at least four years. Lastly, to get an XO designation, cognac must age for six years or more. Additionally, these designations are not French to English translations. Cognac producers originally used English names because the main consumers were from Britain and Ireland. The older the liquor, the smoother the taste. For this reason, aged cognacs are best when served on their own in a snifter, while the younger ones lend themselves to mixed cocktails.