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Secrets to help you choose a great cognac

Cognac - one of the most noble drinks. But to enjoy its aroma and taste and not be afraid of poisoning, you need to make the right choice.

What is cognac?

Cognac is a drink that is made from grapes. The whole process of cooking is very complicated and lengthy, and its subtleties are known only to professionals. First, grape juice is obtained, which is distilled several times. The final distillate, having a strength of about 70%, is sent to oak barrels, which are aged for at least two years.

By the way, the drink got its name thanks to the city of Cognac, located in France. And it is French cognac that can be considered real. All other beverages produced in the countries of the former Soviet Union are grape brandies. But under the legislation of Russia, such drinks can also be called cognacs, if all established rules were observed during production.

How to make a choice?

So, how to choose a good brandy? To do this, when buying should pay attention to several important points.

A country

As already noted, the best cognac is produced in France, but few can afford it. Also this drink is produced in such countries as Moldova, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and so on. If you consider them, then the highest quality and noble taste is Armenian, so it's best to choose it.


This is one of the most important selection criteria. How to determine the exposure? If you have real French cognac, then you can do it by marking, which is a certain set of letters.

Possible options:

  • V.S. (Very Special). This cognac has an endurance of at least two years (younger cognacs are simply not sold).
  • Superior. In this case, the exposure is 3 years.
  • V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale). This drink was aged for 4 years.
  • V.V.S.O.P. (Very Very Superior Old Pale). Extract of this cognac is 5 years;
  • X.O. (Extra Old). The age of the drink is 6 years and older.

For drinks older than 6 years, the labeling of French legislation is not provided, since it is almost impossible to ascertain their exact age.

Cognacs produced in the post-Soviet countries are divided into three main categories: ordinary (ordinary), vintage and collection. In turn, ordinary Armenian drinks and some others are marked in the form of stars, the number of which indicates the age. So, three stars talk about a three-year exposure, 4 - a four-year. A five-star - stood for at least five years.

Vintage cognacs have their own designations:

  • KV (aged cognac). Such an abbreviation speaks of a six-year excerpt.
  • KVVK means "premium quality cognac". His age is at least 8 years.
  • KS: old cognac. His endurance is 10 years.
  • OS - very old cognac, aged for at least 12 years.

The minimum exposure of collection cognacs is 23 years.


Cost is also important. Remember once and for all: high-quality real cognac simply can not be cheap. Imagine: the production of one liter of this drink takes about 10 liters of young wine, a few years, as well as the efforts of those involved in production. So the minimum cost of one bottle of good brandy is about 600-800 rubles.

And what about the composition?

When buying, be sure to study the composition of the drink. This brandy contains brandy alcohol. If you specify ethyl or grain, then the drink can not be called cognac. In addition, the composition should not include any flavors, so if you are offered chocolate, almond or cherry cognac, refuse, because it will not be natural.

We consider a bottle

The bottle can also tell a lot. Here's what you should pay attention to:

  • Integrity. The bottle should not have any chips, scratches, damage or cracks.
  • If there are convex parts (signs, patterns, and so on), then they should be perfectly smooth and even.
  • Rate and cork. Ideally, it should be made of quality silicone, pressed sawdust or wood. A plain metal cap with thread will not retain its aroma and taste, so it is not the best option.
  • Inspect the label. First, it should be glued exactly. Secondly, there should not be any traces of paint or glue on it. Thirdly, the label should indicate all the information about the drink: composition, country-manufacturer, aging, contact information of the manufacturer and so on.
  • On the lid should be an excise stamp, and made of special paper and quite dense. All letters on it should be well printed.

Popular brands

If you consider French cognacs, the most popular brands are Hennessy, Martell, Bisquit, Camus, Rémy Martin, Augier, Courvoisier and Delamain.

There are a lot of brands of cognacs produced in the countries of the former Soviet Union. The most famous are: "Ararat", "Noah", "Grand Sargis", "Bagration", "Old Königsberg" and others.

Helpful Tips

A few recommendations:

  • Turn the bottle over. If there is a drop at the bottom, then, most likely, you have a good real cognac. Also on the walls may remain oily traces. If all the liquid is immediately glass, most likely the drink is unnatural or of poor quality. If the bottle is full, then see a drop will not work. But in this case, you can appreciate the bubbles. So, if at first large ones start to rise, and behind them small ones, then this will be a sign of naturalness.
  • There should be no sediment on the bottom of the bottle. This cognac is transparent and resembles weak tea or dark amber in color.
  • Do not buy "old" cognac. It costs more, but it doesn’t mean good taste. True connoisseurs know that aged cognac has an amazing aroma, but its taste is more than usual. A very "old" drink will not impress you exactly. So the optimal age is 3-5 years.
  • It is best to purchase brandy in specialized or at least large chain stores with an impeccable reputation.
  • If in the store you saw an unknown brandy that interested you, then ask the seller for a certificate for this product. You must provide it.
  • Opening the bottle, pour the brandy into the glass and let it stand for a while. Now appreciate the flavor. It should be nice. If you feel a hint of alcohol or kerosene, then the drink is most likely not real. When heated, the smell may change slightly (this is also a distinctive feature of high-quality cognacs), but it will also remain noble.
  • A good cognac should be absolutely transparent. If it is muddy, give up the purchase.

Now you can choose the right brandy. And let this drink give only pleasant emotions.

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