| When we think cognac, we think of SNL's "Ladies Man," others think of Cary Grant or JamesBond. What comes to mind for you?|
What exactly is cognac you ask? Well, all cognac is brandy but not all brandy is cognac. Thisspirit gets its distinction from the double distillation process. Here's an interesting fact for ya:Per a decree from the French goverment, distillation of each year's vintage must be completed by the following March 31 in order to capture the fresh, fruity qualities of the wine.
There are four classifications for Cognac, all derived from English words as cognac's popularityfirst grew among the English. It's classifiedaccording to the youngest Cognac used in a blend. So whilea two-and-half-year-old VS designation may be blended witholder vintages, it still can be labeled only a VS, signifyingthe youngest blend. So here's the breakdown:
|VS - Very Special, aged a minimum of two and a half years|
|VSOP - Very Superior Old Pale, aged a minimum of four and a half years|
|NAPOLEON - aged a minimum six and a half years|
|XO - Extra Old, also aged a minimum of six and a half years,though because of tradition and consumer demand is generally blended with many Cognacs aged several decades or more|
The "Big Four" Cognac giants are Remy Martin, Martell, Hennessy and Courvoisier, whose salesaccount for 85 percent of the total worldwide market. Each house strives for a recognizable styleand a uniform standard of taste and consistency, and over the centuries each has developed adiscernible signature taste.
Here are our top cognac picks:
|·||Courvoiser VSOP||·||Alize VSOP|
|·||Otard VSP||·||Delamain XO|
|·||Remy Martin VSOP||·||Martell VSOP|
|·||Hennessy VSOP Privilege|
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