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Brandy, Cognac & Armagnac

Cognac is named after the town of Cognac in the Charente region of France. It's a brandy made from the distillate of three grape varieties; Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Folle Blanche. Appellation regulations state that Cognac must be distilled twice in traditionally shaped Charentais copper pot stills and aged for at least 2 years in French oak. The age of the Cognac on the label reflects that of the youngest spirit used in the blend. The unofficial age grades that may be used on the label include: VS (at least two years in cask), VSOP (at least four years in cask) and XO or Napoléon or Hors d'Age (at least six years in cask).
Armagnac is a distinctive style of brandy produced in the French region of Gascogny. Armagnac can claim an even longer history than Cognac, thought to have been first produced by the Moors in the 12th century. Although it undergoes the same long ageing in oak barrels, Armagnac is generally distilled once and at a lower % of alcohol than Cognac. The same three grape varieties are the mainstays of Armagnac production as Cognac though the regulations authorise ten varieties in all. There exists a spirit of experimentation in Armagnac: producers freely use more fragrant grape varieties, along with a variety of distillation methods. It is slightly more rustic in style than Cognac, softer and rounder, with a fuller flavour on both nose and palate. 

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