A type of apple and pear Brandy associated with the Normandy department of northern France. There are more than 200 types of apples and pears permitted, sometimes with 100 or more different varieties of apple and pear used in a single Calvados! Despite this complexity, they are conveniently divided into four simple categories depending on the quality they impart to the spirit - sweet, bittersweet, bitter and sour.
Calvados as a region has three main production areas, each of which is associated with a general style profile. The Calvados from Calvados tend to be the freshest and fruity; those from Calvados Pays d'Auge richer and more complex and finally those from Calvados Domfrontais more tart and floral. After the apples and pears are hand harvested, cider is made and then distilled and the resultant spirit aged for at minimum 2 years in a cask (though often much, much longer). Like most brandies, Calvados has certain age statements, including: Trois Etoiles or Trois Pommes (at least 2 to 3 years old); VSOP or VO (at minimum 4 years old) and Hors d'Age (6 or more years old).