Cognac is BACK
Many can agree that Cognac is synonymous with luxury. Others might consider Cognac snobby but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Millennials value experience over everything– the Cognac experience is pretty special no matter how you look at it.
Cognac is quite complex when you break down what goes into it and how it’s made. So, here’s a crash course on the tasteful spirit.
Cognac is brandy made from a blend of grapes: Ugni blanc, Folle Blanche, and Colombard varietals. At least 90% of the brandy has to be made with those grapes, 10% can be made of other kinds. Above all– Cognac must be made in the Cognac region of France. Once the brandy is made, it needs to be distilled twice in copper pot stills, then aged at least two years in oak barrels made from French oak sourced either from Limousin or Tronçais. If you’re thinking this sounds like whiskey, you’re not wrong… the process is pretty similar.
To decide what kind of cognac you want to purchase, there are a few things you can look for on the label. First, you can consider the quality grades, created by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC). These, almost comedic, grade names tell you everything you need to know about the liquor’s age. Here’s they are:
- V.S. (Very Special)– Where the youngest brandy has been in a cask for at least two years.
- V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale)–This signifies that the youngest brandy has been stored in casks for at least four years. Also known as “Reserve.”
- X.O. (Extra Old)–The youngest brandy in this batch has been in a cask for at least six years.
Useful Tip: Starting in April 2018, X.O.’s age requirement will change to 10 years. Cognacs that would have previously met the X.O. requirement will be referred to by the designation “Napoléon.”
- Hors d’âge (Beyond Age)–Beyond Age is the final quality designation and is, by law, equal to X.O., but can be used by Cognac producers for premium products that go beyond the specified age designation.
Another thing to look for on the label is Cognac’s Cru Classification– the geographic region where its grapes are grown. There are six cognac crus in total:
- Fin Bois
- Bon Bois
- Bois Ordinaires
Flavor-wise, similarly to whiskey, it’s possible to find notes of fruit, a variety of spice characteristics, flowery/herbal notes, or a sweet yet nutty flavor. Each cru has its own specific profile.
So why are Millennials discovering a love of Cognac?
- Millennials don’t care how it’s always been done– Millennials have reinvented how to drink Cognac. They ignore old rules of how Cognac should be served and like to mix their Cognac instead. The more adventurous the cocktail the better.
- Millennials buy consciously– Cognac brands with ethics have a big draw to Millennials because of things such as sustainable farming, organic methods, or anything environmentally conscious.
- Millennials love a story behind a brand– Cognac brands have the products with personality that Millennials adore and will draw them in.
- Millennials love discovering new things– They love nothing better than finding a new brand or product to share with their friends. Cognacs highly appeal to this adventurous generation.
Cognac based drinks:
- Sidecar: a cocktail traditionally made with cognac, an orange liqueur, and lemon juice.
- French Connection: a cocktail made with equal parts cognac and Amaretto liqueur.
- Between the Sheets: a cocktail made with white run, cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice.