Cognac is a type of brandy, and after the distillation and during the aging process, is also called eau de vie. It is produced by distilling wines produced in the designated growing regions of Cognac.


The town of Cognac dates back 2000 years with grape cultivation dating back over 1500 years, from the time of Roman Empire. The origins of Cognac brandy began in the 16th century with the arrival of the Dutch in France.

When the Dutch merchants began distilling wines of the Charente region into eaux de vies to withstand the long journeys back to European ports. This product was called ‘brandewijn’ (burnt wine), later to become known as brandy. Wine merchants began double distilling the brandy to save more space on the ships. Eventually, this brandy from Cognac in the centre of the Charente would be recognized as superior and its production strictly regulated.

The House of Remy Martin was founded in 1724 and in 1738 King Louis XV granted Remy Martin the exceptional right to plant new vines. Remy Martin prides itself on using grapes from the two most sought-after regions, Grande and Petite Champagne. Remy Martin created the Fine Champagne Cognac category in 1927 stipulating the liquid used must contain a minimum of 50% Grande Champagne grapes.


The white wine used in making cognac is often referred to as dry and acidic, which is perfect for distillation and ageing of quality Cognac. After the grapes are pressed, the juice is left to ferment for 2–3 weeks, with the region’s native, wild yeasts converting the sugar into alcohol; neither sugar nor sulfur is allowed to be added.

Distillation takes place in traditionally shaped Charentais copper alembic stills, the design and dimensions of which are legally controlled. Two distillations must be carried out; the resulting eau de vie is a colourless spirit of about 70% alcohol. Once distillation is complete, cognac must be aged in Limousin oak casks for at least two years. It is typically put into casks at an alcohol by volume strength of around 70%. As the cognac interacts with the oak barrel and the air, it evaporates at the rate of about 3% each year, slowly losing both alcohol and water. This phenomenon is called locally la part des Anges, or “the angels’ share”.

The age of the cognac is calculated as that of the youngest component used in the blend. The blend is usually of different ages and from different local areas. This blending, or marriage, of different Eaux de vie, is important to obtain a complexity of flavours absent from an Eaux de vie from a single distillery or vineyard.


Fine Champagne Cognac must contain a minimum of 50% Grande Champagne grapes.

VS Very Special Cognac is aged 2+ years.

VSOP Very Superior Old Pale  is aged 4+ years.

XO Extra Old is aged for 10+ years.


Cognac, France

Cognac is named after the municipality of Cognac and is produced in the surrounding wine-growing regions of Charente and Charente-Maritime.

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