Brandy & Cognac
All Cognac is brandy. All brandy is not Cognac. Cognac is named after the town of Cognac in France. It is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name, in the French Departements of Charente and Charente-Maritime. Cognac is twice distilled in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Tronçais. V.S. (“very special”), Very Special, or ✯✯✯ (three stars) designates a blend in which the youngest brandy has been stored for at least two years in cask. V.S.O.P. (“very superior old pale”) designates a blend in which the youngest brandy is stored for at least four years in a cask, but the average wood age is much greater. XO (“extra old”) designates a blend in which the youngest brandy is stored for at least six years but on average for upwards of 20 years. In 2016, the minimum storage age of the youngest brandy used in an XO blend will be set to ten years.