b'WHAT CAN XOS P I R I T SC O G N A C , B R A N D Y & A R M A G N A CBE FOUNDON THELABELXA.C.Two years old. Aged in wood A s youre probably aware, Spirit V.O. labels can be a bit confusingVery Old even with the heroic regulation Aged a minimum of four years efforts of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, theres a lot V.S. of information to take in. Very SpecialThree years of aging in wooden casks. VeryAnd while something like whiskey often called Three Star (or whisky) might confuse with its Straight Bourbons, Single V.S.O.P. Malts, Blended Grains, and so Very Superior Old Pale on, nowhere is the alphabet soup Minimum aging is eight years in wood for theof spirits labelling so confusing youngest in the blend. Industry average isas with Cognac and Armagnac, between 10 and 15 years old, which is why itsFrances two famous Brandy sometimes known as Five Star regions.X.O. Youve seen themletters like Extra Old V.S., A.C., X.O.So what does it all Also called Luxury. Has a minimum age of eightmean? Before you try to rearrange years. This class also can include Napoleon andthe letters like some kind of Vielle (Reserve) Sunday jumble, just remember this: all the letters on any bottle Napoleon/Extra/Vielle Reserve Napoleonof Cognac or Armagnac youll see had nothing to do with it, except to order thisrefer to one thing: ageing. type of Cognac. At least four years old, but generally much older than that Not that that means any of its simple since aging standards Varietal really just set minimums (as in Made using only one type of varietal grape the minimum number of years any component of the blend in the Vintage bottle). Aged and was put into the bottle in the year ofBut many Cognac and Armagnac the vintage houses will age well beyond Hors dAge set minimums, meaning quality Too old to figure out the age. A true gem can vary. Best is to buy in the moderate range, read some Cru reviews, see what you like, and Not a statement of age, but place, basically thego from there (that is, dont growing region, which youll see more often onnecessarily start with anything Cognac (which has six official growing regions). extra or superior, unless youve got cash to spend).92 INN EXPRESS - DRINKS PORTFOLIO 2019|20 - COGNAC, BRANDY & ARMAGNAC'