Any person, at least a little familiar with cognacs, knows that one of the indicators of the quality of cognac is its endurance. The more exposure, the more expensive and better cognac. But this, as you understand, still depends on the personal preferences of each person.
So, the alcohol obtained as a result of double distillation is poured into new barrels in which the “journey of the drink in time” begins. The barrels are made exclusively of French oak (the province of Limousin or Throne), which, with its specific porosity, contributes to the evaporation of the liquid. Barrels are placed in piles or on racks in special cellars. They maintain a temperature of 18-25 degrees, the floor in the cellars is earthen, and the walls are made of charente stone.
After 7-8 months of aging in new barrels, the liquid gets a flavor with a pronounced oak shade, the color becomes light golden. Now alcohols are poured into middle-aged barrels, where they are aged for 5-6 years. At this stage you can clearly recognize the fruit, floral notes, vanilla shades. This alcohol is ready to create young brandies.
Next, the alcohol is poured into old barrels. Depending on the humidity, alcohol and water evaporate faster or slower. Part of the alcohol, evaporating at this time, settles on the arches of the room as a fungus. Sentimental Frenchmen call that which evaporates a beautiful phrase “angels share”.
After 10 years of aging, spirits receive a unique bouquet in which there is honey, leather, tobacco. Further more. For twenty years, we already have the wonderful aromas of linden, orange, the aroma of an aged, oxidized wine, the so-called “rancio” (smells of nuts, mushrooms, dried fruit).
Alcohols in barrels are stored no more than 60 years. After this period, the alcohol content in brandy drops below 40%, and such a drink cannot be called brandy in accordance with the law. At this stage, manufacturers either pour the drink into glassware, where evaporation does not occur, or continue to store it in barrels, then add them to young brandies to give them a rich taste and aroma.
It is known that alcohol in glassware can be stored forever. For example, in some cognac houses there are samples of the mid-19th century and even earlier. They are priceless! But only from the point of view of history, because alcohols of different eras, sealed in glass after identical years of aging, are absolutely equal.