Cognac classification by aging: western gradation
When buying brandy or even grape brandy made according to the cognac technology, one should have an idea about the classification of these drinks according to their aging time. As is known, the technology of making brandy involves placing grape alcohol or a blend of grape spirits for a certain period in an oak barrel.
Later, it is on the length of stay in the barrel that the above-mentioned cognac gradation is based. At the same time, it must be borne in mind that the first and only criterion by which the aging period of cognac is determined is the period in which the youngest of the spirits used to blend a particular drink is in the barrel. Western Gradation In western cognac culture, a six-step grading of cognacs based on authentic French tradition is used.
According to this classification, cognacs are divided into the following categories: V.S. (Very Special) – the term of exposure from 2 to 3 years; Superior – exposure 3 years; V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale) – excerpt 4 years; V.V.S.O.P. (Very Very Superior Old Pale) – 5 years old; X.O. (Extra Old) – a period of exposure of 6 years. From the point of view of experts, further gradation does not make sense, since the aging period of cognac, whose age has exceeded 6.5 years, is in fact indeterminable by tasting.
Soviet standard It is also worth bearing in mind that grape brandy, illegally referred to in the post-Soviet space as cognac (and this is not a matter of quality, but of geographical affiliation), has its own classification, developed back in Soviet times. It is based on the division of brandy drinks into three categories: ordinary, vintage and collection. The first category includes drinks, whose aging period is equal to the 3rd, 4th and 5th year, as can be seen by counting the number of stars shown on the label. The second category includes beverages whose age varies between 6 and 23 years.
At the same time, within this category there is also an internal gradation: KV (Aged Cognac) – a period of exposure from 6 to 8 years; KVVK (Cognac Aged Top Quality) – 8-10 years; KS (Old Cognac) – 10-12 years; OS (Very Old) – excerpt from 12 to 23 years. Accordingly, the third category includes beverages with a aging period of 23 years and above. As you can see, in fact, the classification of cognac according to aging was not something extraordinary or difficult. All information is quite simple and even easy, anyone can remember. Use it to choose the right brandy and enjoy every sip of this truly wonderful drink.