How to determine the age of brandy?
Hard standards, including the cognac age control system, are established by the National Interprofessional Cognac Bureau.
Consumers can learn about the age (and quality) of cognac by the special designations on the labels of bottles. All terms specified in the classification mean that each of the alcohols included in this cognac has an aging period of at least specified.
The term of exposure is considered to be from the morning of April 1, following the official termination of the distillation of wine of a given crop.
Cognac is marked with asterisks, there should be at least three of them (one asterisk 10 months), because according to technology, brandy should be aged in barrels for at least 30 months.
Another classification: VS, VSOP, XO, where:
E – special
F – great
V – very
S – excellent
P – pale
X – extra
C – Cognac
Cognac: history, age determination, drinking culture, tips
V.S. (Very Special) or Trois Etoiles (“Three Stars”) – cognacs with a barrel aging of at least 2.5 years;
V.O. (Very Old) Reserve – very old;
V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale), – very high quality, old, light; cognacs aged in a barrel for at least 4 years;
V.V.S.O.P. (Very Very Superior Old Pale), Grande Reserve – very, very high quality, old, bright; cognacs aged in a barrel for at least 5 years;
X.O. (Extra Old), Extra, Napoleon, Hors d’age, Tres Vieux, Vieille Reserve – old, extra; cognacs aged in a barrel 6 years.
Classification of brandies with an exposure of more than 6 years is prohibited by the Bureau, which considers that it is impossible to control blending processes for periods of more than 6 years.
It should be noted that the names Extra, Napoleon, Grand Reserve mean not the name (brand) of brandy, but the brand in the classification.
The following classification of cognacs is adopted in Russia:
* ordinary cognacs – aged for at least 3 – 5 years; cognacs of special names – not less than 4 years, the volume fraction of alcohol is 40-42%, the sugar content is not more than 1.5%;
* vintage cognacs – not less than 6 years old, have their own names, the volume fraction of alcohol is 40-57%, the sugar content is not more than 2.5%:
* KV – cognac seasoned (at least 6 years);
* KVVK-cognacs of the highest quality (at least 8 years);
* COP and OS – brandy old and very old (at least 10-15 years);
* collection cognacs – ready vintage cognacs are additionally kept in oak barrels for at least 3 years.
Classification of Armenian brandy. They are ordinary, vintage and collectible. Famous stars on the label indicate how many years brandy alcohol spent in the barrel, that is – about the shutter speed. But stars are typical for ordinary Armenian brandies. For example, if there are five of them on the label – brandy from alcohols aged for at least five years. If the alcohol is aged for less than three years – only brandy drink can be made from it. Vintage cognacs have letter designations. So, if you see the inscription “KV” – means “Cognac Aged”. On average, at least six years. “KVVK” – “Cognac Aged Top Quality”. Such labeling is for a drink made from alcohols aged for at least eight years. For ten years the alcohol has been languishing in barrels, from which they make “Old Cognac” – “KS”. The label “OS” means that the brandy “Very Old” – alcohol for its production has been in the “oak captivity” for at least 20 years. The collection includes Armenian brandy additionally aged in barrels or bottles for at least three years.