The production of cognac can be traced all the way back to the 17-hundreds in France, where immigrants utilized the local wine made from the Ugni Blanc grape to create what we today know as cognac. Once the message of cognac’s qualities and flavor reached the rest of Europe, a Martell from the Channel Islands, a Hennessy from Ireland and a Hine from Dorset in England emerged. Cognac was born and became the livelihood of an entire canton in France.
All cognac has been through a lengthy process to cultivate the best possible flavor. Different descriptions on the label will indicate the age of the cognac and therefore also often the price of the bottle. The age shown on the bottle indicates the age of the youngest cognac used in the formula.
V.S. stands for Very Superior, in other words three-starred and is a cognac aged for less than 4.5 years.
V.S.O.P stands for Very Superior Old Pale, and is a cognac that has been aged somewhere between 4.5 and 6.5 years. This cognac is sometimes referred to as V.O. (Very Old or Reserve).
X.O. stands for Extremely Old, and is a cognac that has been aged somewhere between 5.5 and 40 years in barrels. Other names for this extremely old cognac are Napoléon, hors d'âge, V.S.S.O.P, Cordon Bleu, Grand Réserve, Vieille Réserve and Royal.
Famous for its stile and class, Hennessy Cognac was founded in 1765 by the Irish aristocrat Richard Hennessy. Today, the Hennessy brand is one of the largest houses in the town of Cognac in France, selling more than 50 million bottles annually around the world. As most other cognac houses, Hennessy Cognac produces Cognac V.S, V.S.O.P. and X.O.
Martell Cognac is part of the elite in the cognac world and was founded by Jean Martell in 1715. The cognac house was sold in 1988 by the Firino-Martell-family to Seagram and again in 2002 to the Pernod Richard Group, who today also own cognac brands such as Biscuit and Renault. The brands Martell, Cordon Bleu and Martell XO are on the top 20 list of the world’s best cognacs.
At an age of just 25, Jean-Antonin Renault founded the Renault cognac house in the city Cognac in 1835. Renault was inspired from his many travels around the world, and he was the first in the city of cognac to age his cognac in barrels from day one. Renault was a visionary of his time, by aging his cognac in barrels, the original flavor and aroma was preserved. Renault has from the beginning been faithful to tradition and has built one of the worlds most renowned cognac houses.