Ask Eno: How old is your Cognac?

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Dear Eno,

What’s the difference between V.S and VSOP cognac?  

– L.


Dear L, 

Those letters on Cognac labels are telling you about it’s age or the age at least of the youngest part of its blend.  

VS= “Very Special”, sometimes also designated as three stars ***.  This indicates that the cognac has been aged for at least 2 years in barrels.

VSOP= “Very Special/Superior Old Pale”, meaning that the youngest component in the blend has been aged at least 4 years in barrels.

XO= “Extra Old” indicates the youngest part of the blend being aged at least 6 years in barrels – though usually cognacs with XO on them have been age closer to 20 years.

Other labeling terms:

“Napoleon”= Similar to an XO cognac

“Hors d’Age”= Also officially similar to XO rules, though typically is reserved for extremely high quality cognacs.

“Vintage”= Some cognacs on the market are blends of a single vintage (but are typically released much later than said vintage).  

Aubrie Talarico is part of Eno’s team that answers your toughest questions or curiosities about wine, beer, spirits, sake, and cider. Email questions to and read the answers in Eno’s E-newsletter!

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