in the know

Cognac: six facts you probably didn't know

Another week, another international drink day! June 4th is World Cognac Day, but even though everyone's heard of it, not everyone knows much about it. We took a dive into the world of this iconic spirit to find out more

At first glance, cognac bottles can look a bit...well, confusing. When's a cognac not a cognac? And what do all those letters mean?

It's actually a lot easier than it looks - to drink, at any rate! When it comes to making it...well, that's another matter altogether.

1. All cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is cognac

Like champagne, only cognac can come from the French region of Cognac. Cognac is a brandy, but it's only cognac if it comes from Cognac. Got it?

Try: Hennessy VS Cognac 700ml

2. The VS, VSOP and XO thing is easier than you might think

VS – very special. Cognacs that fall into this category have been aged for at least two years.

VSOP – very superior old pale. These cognacs have been aged at least four years.

XO – extra old. Extra old cognacs have been aged at least six years.

3. The rules surrounding cognac making are almost unbelievably strict

We're serious. Cognac can only be aged in barrels made of French oak from one of two specific forests.

Try: Remy Martin VSOP Cognac 700ml, aged in barrels with wood exclusively from the Limousin forest.

4. Most of the French cognac produced is exported

Only three per cent of cognac is consumed in France – the rest is exported. (This is very good for us!)

5. It takes a LOT of wine to make cognac

When distilled, 10 litres of white wine make one litre of cognac.

6. Cognac should be drunk at room temperature

None of this 'heating the cognac' lark; it destroys the flavours as the alcohol evaporates. The body heat of your hand around the brandy glass is just the right amount of heat needed.



Our Picks