Cognac is grape brandy named after the region in which it is made, in an around the town of Cognac in the southwest of France. Cognac is predominantly made from three types of grapes — ugni blanc, folle blanche, and colombard, with other grape varietals showing up in the mix. They are vinified into a thin wine, then distilled twice in copper pot stills to make brandy. This brandy must by law then be aged in French oak barrels for at least two years. Brandy of this minimum age can be labeled VS in quality. After four years it can be called VSOP, and after ten years (a recent extension of time), it becomes XO. Many highly prized cognacs are much older than this — and they carry some incredibly high price tags.

Top Cognac Posts:

What’s the Difference Between Cognac and Armagnac?
Bache-Gabrielsen American Oak Cognac
Courvoisier VS, VSOP, and XO Cognac
Remy Martin 1738 Accord Royal Cognac

Drinkhacker’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 25, 2021 |

Ready for Christmas? Ready for Christmas 2023, maybe? Our long day’s journey into night may have continued unabated this year, but we’re hopeful you’ve at least found some ability to get out of the house, maybe take a trip, and reconnect with friends and family this season. Naturally, you’re still not going to be able…

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Review: Meukow Cognac VSOP

By Christopher Null | September 19, 2021 |

Meukow is the Cognac with the panther on the bottle. Or rather, in the bottle, part of the bottle. There’s more to it than that, I’m sure, but I don’t know a whole lot more about it than that — except that the house dates back to 1862. This VSOP is reportedly aged for five…

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Review: Jean-Luc Pasquet L’Organic 07 Cognac

By Christopher Null | September 16, 2021 |

  Jean-Luc Pasquet produces this Cognac expression from Grande Champagne eau de vie, taking two vintages of Cognac, each at least 7 years old, and blending them together, the idea being that Pasquet can find a better sense of balance by combining the styles of two vintages. All of it is organic. Let’s see how…

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Review: Bache-Gabrielsen VS Tre Kors Cognac

By Christopher Null | September 8, 2021 |

This entry level Cognac is a blend of 25% Grande Champagne/Petite Champagne eau de vie and 75% Fins Bois eau de vie. It spends just two years in small oak barrels before bottling, qualifying it as a VS expression. Let’s dive in. The nose has many of the hallmarks of young Cognac — slightly astringent…

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Review: Ferrand S.D.A. Cognac (2021)

By Christopher Null | April 20, 2021 |

Maison Ferrand’s S.D.A. — Selection des Anges, the angels’ selection — is not a new expression, but the brand has recently retooled it, creating new packaging and upping the proof slightly from 80 to 83.6. We never reviewed the expression in its pre-Covid incarnation, but we’re digging in to a 2021 bottling all the same. It’s…

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Review: Larsen Cognac Aqua Ignis

By Christopher Null | April 7, 2021 |

Larsen’s new Aqua Ignis has a curious claim to fame: It is the first spirit in the world aged in steam-toasted barrels, specifically “triple-steamed brasero toasted barrels.” What does that mean? Instead of only toasting the barrels with open flame, they are immersed in hot water, then toasted in a brasero, causing the water to…

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Review: Hine Homage Cognac (2021)

By Christopher Null | March 25, 2021 |

Hine’s Homage is an homage to Thomas Hine, the English founder of the Hine brand back in 1763. The brandy itself is a Grand Champagne Cognac blended from more than 20 eaux-de-vie, again all made from Grande Champagne grapes. This blend is noteworthy as including four single vintages that are called “Early Landed,” which were…

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Review: Rome de Bellegarde XO Cognac

By Christopher Null | February 4, 2021 |

In 2018 the defunct Cognac brand Rome de Bellegarde made headlines when a shot of its brandy, produced in 1858, sold for more than $14,000, making it the most expensive shot of Cognac ever sold. Shortly thereafter, sensing an opportunity perhaps, the brand was revived by the latest generation of the Bellegarde family, and its…

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Review: Frerot Extra Cognac

By Christopher Null | December 6, 2020 |

Frerot Extra is a 100% Grande Champagne Cognac made from eau-de-vies with an age ranging from 30 to 50 years old. That kind of age isn’t remotely common, so I approached this brandy with significant enthusiasm. Results? It’s perfectly agreeable, but to be honest, it’s vaguely disappointing. The nose is fragrant and floral, very light…

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Drinkhacker’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 26, 2020 |

At this point it feels safe to say that the 2020 holiday season will be unlike any other in our lifetimes. And while in-person gatherings may not be possible, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to stop exchanging gifts. In fact, in the world of booze, it’s easier than ever to ship a bottle of…

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