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Cognac XO age limit increased from six to ten years

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The trade association for the Cognac sector has confirmed its intention to raise the minimum age for spirit used in the XO classification from six years to ten.

The XO classification change takes effect from 1 April

The XO classification change takes effect from 1 April

Having initially announced the move seven years ago, the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) said earlier today that the measure will take effect from 1 April. Subsequently, the youngest eau-de-vie - the distilled spirit that, once matured, becomes Cognac - must have been aged for ten years to be able to earn the XO classification.

The age rise has been introduced to "align the regulation and the market reality, and also to extend the quality positioning of XO", the BNIC said today.

As a transitionary concession, all existing XO Cognacs that contain liquid aged between six and nine years old will be permitted to carry the XO classification until the end of March next year.

"In practice," the BNIC said, "there are already many XO Cognacs on the market with the youngest eau-de-vie exceeding ten years of age."

The other Cognac classifications - VS for a minimum of two years ageing, VSOP for a minimum of four years - remain unchanged, as does the 'Napoleon' designation - a minimum of six years.

Further details of the implementation method can be found – in French – here.

Why the past isn't all it's cracked up to be, for younger consumers - Click here for a just-drinks comment


Sectors: Legislation, Spirits

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