Cognac has a long history as one of the world's favourite spirits. Distilled from a few grape varieties around the picturesque towns of Cognac and Jarnac in Western France, north of Bordeaux, Cognac offers a beguiling blend of complexity, intensity, depth of flavour and elegance - oak spice, citrus oils, floral notes and Christmas cake are all common tasting notes. Starting out life as a rather acidic and low alcohol wine, the eventual Cognac is then distilled twice to form eau-de-vie. This is then aged in barrel and ultimately cut with water before bottling.
Cognac is usually bottled either as a single vintage or with one of three age statements: VS, or "Very Special," must be aged for at least two years, VSOP, or "Very Superior Old Pale," must spend a minimum of four years in cask and finally XO, or "Extra Old," must be at least ten years in cask, although many producers vastly exceed these minimum requirements. In many ways, Cognac bridges the world between wine and spirits, with a focus on terroir and the region being divided into six crus. Whether enjoyed as part of a cocktail or simply on its own, Cognac truly offers a sense of place in the world of spirits.