When looking at a Cognac bottle, you sometimes wonder what the label means. Here’s a short guide of what the abbreviations means:
V.S: Stands for Very Special, the spirit has aged in the oak barrel for a minimum of 2 year.
V.S.O.P: Stands for Very Special Old Pale, the spirit has aged in the oak barrel for a minimum of 4 years. However there may be some older eau-de-vie mixed in VSOP but the youngest must be at least 4 years old.
X.O: Stands for Extra Old, the spirit has aged in the oak barrel for a minimum of 6 years. However X.O generally has much older eau-de-vie content, but the youngest blend must be at least 6 years old. Starting from 2018, the minimum age for X.O will change from 6 years to 10 years.
Extra: The blend has far more older eau-de-vie than X.O
HorD’âge: Which actually means ‘Beyond Age’ is high qualities blend that is so old that it is ‘beyond’ the standard grading.
There are 6 main regions where Cognac grapes are grown which are known as ‘Cru’. Each region has a different kind of soil which affects the growth and taste of the grapes. These are the regions, listed from the best to least: The Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires. Sometimes the term ‘Fine Champagne’ is found on some Cognac bottles, it means it is a combination of both Grande & Petite Champagne, with at least 50% Grande Champagne.