A cognac is the result of a blend of different eaux-de-vie, sometimes more than a hundred. Its age is determined by the youngest eaux-de-vie used into its composition. Discover all the subtleties of this classification.
What does cognac classification mean?
Unlike other spirits such as whisky, cognac uses letters rather than numbers to indicate its age. There are four official aging ratings for this spirit: VS, VSOP, XO and XXO. These have been standardized by the BNIC, a first in the world of spirits.
There are six cognac crus characterizing the production area. For example, cognacs CAMUS are made in the Borderies cru. The notion of vintage has no impact on the classification.
What is a VS cognac?
And VS Cognac is a "Very Special" Cognac Very Special ". It can be also called "Selection", "De Luxe" or "3 Stars". This spirit owes its name to the fact that the youngest eau-de-vie in the blend must be at least two years old.
Straw yellow to light amber in color, it is livelier on the mouth than the cognacs of other categories. Its aromas are pparticularly fruity. It is traditionally savored in a cocktail or a long drink, or dry or on the rocks.
The CAMUS Very Special (40%) Cognac is the richest in fruity aromas of the category. It is distilled with lees and aged only in fine-medium grain French oak barrels. Our VS is distinguished by its high concentration in esters giving it intense aromas of summer fruits and subtle spices.
It is a blend of eaux-de-vie selected to bring the quintessence of the Charente terroir. This cognac is the result of a distillation designed to highlight the highly aromatic components. It has been meticulously tasted by our cellar master throughout the maturation period. The result is the perfect combination of barrels for a richly flavored blend.
What does a VSOP cognac mean?
In 1817, King George IV of England asked Hennessy for a « Very Superior Old Pale » cognac. At that time, the use of sugar and caramel in cognac was common. This description referred to a pure product, made without these additives. Today, it is a reference for all houses of this spirit. VSOP cognac is often mistakenly called "Very Special Old Pale". Its other names are "Very Superior Special Pale", "Very Old", "Reserve" or "Vieux".
To obtain this classification, a cognac must contain in its blend an eau-de-vie of at least four years old. For this age class as for the others, the master blender can use much older eaux-de-vie. VSOP tends to be sweeter than VS, with woody notes.
The Cognac Camus VSOP (40%) offers the most intense floral aromas in the category. Its blendincludes some of the best eaux-de-vie in the Borderies cru. Our Cognac VSOP has a high level of terpenols associated with floral aromas of extreme finesse.
Intensely aromatic, this VSOP has a fruity and floral profile associated with notes of oak, spices and vanilla. The casks used for its aging are "fine grain" only. Its low tannin content is achieved through the "French light toasting" process. The result: the perfect balance between oakiness and fresh aromas.
How old is an XO cognac?
Invented by Hennessy in 1870, the cognac XO means « Extra Old ». Indeed, its eaux-de-vie are aged in barrels for at least 10 years. But an XO has, in general, an average age between 15 and 20 years because of its blend. This is the reference for Cognac houses. Due to the time spent in barrels, the cognac is usually rich and sumptuous, with warm spices, chocolate, caramel, nuts and dried fruits.
The Cognac CAMUS XO (40%) ensures the perfect balance between fruity and woody notes. It is distilled exclusively with our patented Intensity method. The most aromatic liters are selected during the second distillation to obtain an exceptional fruitiness mixed with aromas of spices. We use lightly toasted fine grain oak casks to create a highly aromatic spirit with subtle tannins. Each blend includes distillates from the Borderies cru to highlight the floral notes of this exceptional cognac.
What is the classification of a Napoleon XO cognac?
The designation Napoleon means that the spirit comprises a blend of which the youngest eau-de-vie has been aged for at least 6 years. It refers to cognac from the Courvoisier house, which the emperor liked to taste. According to the legend, Napoleon brought several cases during his forced exile in Saint Helena.
Our CAMUS Collection Privée Légion d'Honneur cognac (40%) has a golden color with luminous mahogany reflections. In the palate, it evokes great complexity with creamy notes of pastries, nuances of violets, leather and nuts.
This exceptional cognac mobilizes the know-how of different crafts. Indeed, Ateliers Camus have designed a refined black box protected by a red leather dress. This one is stamped with the interlacing of oak and laurel leaves, emblem of the Legion d'Honneur.
What does Cognac Extra mean?
Like an XO, the youngest eau-de-vie from a cognac Extra must be aged for a minimum of 10 years. However, an Extra cognac ages well beyond the minimum requirements. This is why it is often considered as superior to XO cognacs.
The Cognac CAMUS Extra Dark & Intense (40%) was created by selecting our best barrels of Extra cognac casks. These barrels follow a very particular aging process. They have been custom-heated over a flame to release the alcohol trapped inside the grains of the oak staves. The cognac is then returned into these barrels to follow the « Dark & Intense » finishing process.
Definition of the Cuvée classification for cognac
The Cuvée classification does not necessarily refer to age. Rather, it refers to a particular blend or batch. The designation is used to emphasize the special character of the spirit.
Our Cognac CAMUS Cuvée 4.160 is part of a collection extremely rare cognacs personally selected by Cyril Camus. Limited to 784 carafes, it is the result of a blend of unique eaux-de-vie, among the most precious in our cellar.
Maison CAMUS offers a range of products covering all categories. Regardless of their classification, our creations are always distinguished by an extraordinary aromatic intensity.