Updated at: 21-07-2023 - By: John Lau

Embarking on the journey of appreciating cognac can feel a bit like stepping into a vast, complex world.

Did you know that cognac is not just any brandy, but it’s a luxurious spirit produced in the Cognac region of France?

This article aims to unravel the varied layers of cognac, from its types and flavor profiles to renowned brands and suitable pairings.

Let’s dive into this aromatic universe and discover what makes each type of Cognac unique!

Understanding the Different Types of Cognac

VS Cognac

What Is A Growler (1)

VS Cognac, also known as Very Special, is a delightful entry point into the world of this celebrated spirit.

Falling under the youngest classification, it has been aged in oak casks for at least two years resulting in a vibrant and youthful flavor profile.

Produced in the prestigious vineyards of France’s Cognac region—including the well-known areas of Grand Champagne and Petite Champagne—this type offers enthusiasts an inviting introduction to brandy’s deeper notes.

Though labeled as cognac’s most junior variety, VS variants still carry significant depth due to their distinct distillation process involving white wine grapes and eau de vie (a term handed out during aging).

Renowned brands such as Leyrat and Grosperrin offer exceptional VS cognacs that serve beautifully on their own or mixed into cocktails—a testament to cognac’s versatility.

With its lively characteristics and accessible price point, VS Cognac sets an enticing stage for further exploration into more matured forms of this distinguished spirit.

VSOP Cognac

VSOP Cognac, which stands for Very Superior Old Pale, is a popular type of cognac known for its smooth and balanced flavors.

It is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of four years, allowing the spirit to develop complex aromas and rich taste profiles.

VSOP Cognac typically exhibits notes of dried fruits, vanilla, and oak spice. This type of cognac appeals to both new and experienced drinkers due to its excellent value for money.

Brands like Remy Couillebaud and Chateau de Montifaud offer exceptional examples of VSOP Cognacs that can be enjoyed neat or used as the base in classic cocktails.

Whether you’re a connoisseur or just starting your journey into the world of cognac, trying a bottle of VSOP Cognac is an excellent way to explore this beloved spirit’s depth and complexity.

XO Cognac

What Is A Growler (2)

XO Cognac, which stands for Extra Old, is one of the most luxurious and prestigious types of cognac.

This type of cognac is aged for a minimum of 10 years in oak barrels, resulting in a rich and complex flavor profile.

XO Cognac often exhibits notes of dried fruit, chocolate, and spice, with a velvety smoothness that lingers on the palate.

Some popular examples include ABK6 XO Grande Champagne Cognac and Martell Chanteloup XXO Cognac.

These exquisite brands are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail in the aging process.

If you’re looking for a truly remarkable experience with cognac, XO is definitely worth exploring.

XXO Cognac

XXO Cognac, also known as Extra Extra Old Cognac, is the pinnacle of luxury when it comes to this exquisite spirit.

It represents the highest level of aging among cognacs, with a minimum age requirement of at least 14 years in oak barrels.

This lengthy aging process allows XXO Cognac to develop complex flavors and aromas that are truly remarkable.

With notes of rich dried fruits, leather, chocolate, and spices, this type of cognac offers an indulgent experience for discerning palates.

XXO Cognacs are often produced in limited quantities by prestigious brands such as Martell and Roullet Reserve de Famille.

Whether sipped neat or enjoyed in a luxurious cocktail, XXO Cognac is sure to elevate any occasion for those who appreciate the finer things in life.

Napoleon Cognac

What Is A Growler (3)

Napoleon Cognac is a premium type of brandy that falls between the VSOP and XO classifications. It is known for its exceptional quality and smooth taste.

Napoleon cognac must be aged for a minimum of six years, allowing it to develop rich flavors and aromas.

This type of cognac often exhibits notes of dried fruits, spices, and oak, making it a favorite among connoisseurs.

Some notable brands that produce outstanding Napoleon cognacs include Roullet Reserve de Famille and Merlet Brothers.

Whether sipped neat or mixed into cocktails, Napoleon cognac offers a luxurious drinking experience that is sure to impress even the most discerning palate.

Exploring Notable Brands and Varieties

In this section, we will delve into the world of cognac and discover some of the notable brands and varieties that are worth exploring.

Remy Couillebaud VS Cognac

Remy Couillebaud VS Cognac is a popular and accessible option for those looking to explore the world of cognac without breaking the bank. This particular type falls under the “VS” classification, which stands for Very Special.

It undergoes a careful distillation and aging process to develop its unique flavor profile. With notes of fruitiness and a touch of spice,

Remy Couillebaud VS Cognac offers a delightful sensory experience that can be enjoyed on its own or used as a base in cocktails.

So if you’re seeking an approachable entry point into the world of cognac, Remy Couillebaud VS is definitely worth trying out.

Chateau de Montifaud VSOP Cognac

Chateau de Montifaud VSOP Cognac is a noteworthy brand of cognac that should not be overlooked. With its rich history and commitment to quality, this cognac offers a truly exceptional experience.

Made from white wine grapes grown in the Cognac region, Chateau de Montifaud uses traditional distillation methods to create a spirit that is aged for a minimum of four years.

The result is a smooth and well-balanced cognac with notes of vanilla, hazelnut, and dried fruits.

Whether enjoyed neat or as part of a cocktail, Chateau de Montifaud VSOP Cognac is sure to impress even the most discerning palate.

So why not treat yourself to this exquisite spirit and savor the flavors of French craftsmanship?.

ABK6 XO Grande Champagne Cognac

ABK6 XO Grande Champagne Cognac is a premium brand of cognac that originates from the prestigious Grande Champagne region in France.

It is known for its exceptional quality and luxurious flavor profile.

Crafted using a blend of eaux-de-vie  that have been aged for a minimum of 10 years, this XO Cognac offers an exquisite combination of rich aromas and complex taste notes.

With hints of vanilla, dried fruits, and spices, ABK6 XO delivers a smooth and velvety experience that lingers on the palate.

The aging process in French oak barrels adds depth to its character, creating a harmonious balance between fruity sweetness and subtle oakiness.

Each sip reveals layers of flavors that are both refined and enticing.

As one of the top-rated brands in the industry, ABK6 represents the artistry and expertise required to produce exceptional cognacs.

Its commitment to sourcing only the finest grapes from their own vineyards ensures consistent quality year after year.

Martell Chanteloup XXO Cognac

Martell Chanteloup XXO Cognac is a premium and highly sought-after cognac that exemplifies luxury and craftsmanship.

This exquisite blend showcases the expertise of the House of Martell, which has been producing exceptional cognacs since 1715.

With its rich amber color and complex aromas, Martell Chanteloup XXO Cognac delivers an unparalleled sensory experience.

The aging process gives this cognac distinct notes of dried fruits, spices, and roasted cocoa beans, creating a harmonious balance that lingers on the palate.

Crafted from a meticulous selection of eaux-de-vie aged for at least 35 years in oak barrels, this XXO expression represents the pinnacle of quality and refinement in the world of cognac.

Each sip offers a taste journey filled with depth and elegance.

Whether enjoyed neat or as part of a sophisticated cocktail, Martell Chanteloup XXO Cognac is sure to captivate even the most discerning palates.

Its smoothness and complexity make it perfect for savoring special moments or celebrating significant occasions.

Roullet Reserve de Famille Cognac

Roullet Reserve de Famille Cognac is a premium and well-respected brand in the world of cognac. This exquisite blend offers an exceptional tasting experience with its smooth and complex flavor profile.

Crafted with care, Roullet Reserve de Famille boasts rich notes of dried fruits, honey, vanilla, and a touch of oak.

It is aged for a significant amount of time in French oak barrels, allowing the flavors to develop into a harmonious symphony on the palate.

Whether enjoyed neat or as part of a cocktail, this cognac is sure to impress even the most discerning connoisseurs.

So if you’re looking to indulge in something truly special and savour every sip, Roullet Reserve de Famille Cognac should be at the top of your list.

Characteristics and Flavor Profiles of Each Type

Exploring the diverse cognac types is an exciting journey that combines history, tradition, and a variety of unique flavor profiles.

Each cognac type, from VS to XXO, presents distinct characteristics and flavor notes that speak volumes about its crafting process, maturation period, and the very terroir it originates from.

1. VS (Very Special) Cognac: The youngest grade of cognac, aged for at least two years. Notably fresh and light, VS cognac typically exhibits fruity, floral, and slightly spicy notes. Leyrat’s VS Cognac is known for its vibrant and youthful profile.

2. VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) Cognac: Aged for a minimum of four years, VSOP Cognac offers more balance and depth than its younger counterpart. Chateau de Montifaud’s VSOP provides a perfect showcase of these qualities with its robust flavor and hint of vanilla.

3. XO (Extra Old) Cognac: XO Cognac represents a significant step up in terms of both age and complexity. With mandatory aging of at least ten years, it reveals rich, complex, and deep flavors. The ABK6 XO Grande Champagne Cognac, for instance, boasts spicy, woody notes, and a memorable finish.

4. XXO (Extra Extra Old) Cognac: Introduced in 2018, this category needs a minimum aging of 14 years. Martell Chanteloup’s XXO Cognac displays an array of intense, sophisticated flavors including dried fruits, honey, and old leather.

5. Napoleon Cognac: Comparable to XO in terms of aging, Napoleon Cognac offers a balanced, often sophisticated palate. Roullet Reserve de Famille Cognac is a prime example, with its rich, full-bodied texture and delightful fruity and spicy notes.

Tips for Enjoying and Pairing Cognac

  • Start with a clean glass to fully appreciate the aroma and flavors of cognac.
  • Serve cognac at room temperature or slightly warmed in your hand to enhance its aromatics.
  • Take small sips and let the liquid coat your palate, allowing you to savor the complex flavors.
  • Experiment with different glass shapes to enhance different aspects of the cognac’s profile.
  • Pair cognac with rich desserts like chocolate or caramel-based treats for a delightful combination of flavors.


In conclusion, understanding the different types of cognac can enhance your appreciation for this intriguing and versatile brandy.

From VS to XXO, each variety offers its own unique characteristics and flavor profiles.

Whether you’re a connoisseur or just starting your journey into the world of cognac, exploring the various brands and styles will undoubtedly add depth to your drinking experience.

Cheers to discovering your new favorite type of cognac!