08.01.2021

What Do The Initials VS, VSOP And XO Mean?

    article

    VS, VSOP and XO refer to the age and quality of the cognac. Each corresponds to how long the brandy has been aged in oak barrels. In 1983, following a request by the BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac)*, the French government drafted regulations governing the terms used to describe a cognac”s quality. These designations, which may be included on the label, refer to the age of the youngest eau-de-vie used in making the cognac.

     

    VS stands for “Very Special”: only eaux-de-vie at least two years old can be used to make a VS cognac. Other denominators and expressions are permitted, such as “3 stars” or “luxury”, and as such are included in the VS cognac category.

    VSOP stands for “Very Superior Old Pale”: VSOP cognacs are created from eaux-de-vie aged for at least four years. The VSOP category includes designations such as “Old” or “Reserve”.

    XO stands for “Extra Old”: XO cognacs are made only from eaux-de-vie at least six years old. Cognacs such as “Napoleon” or “Old Reserve” are equivalent to XO cognac.

    Incidentally, the reason these abbreviations are in English is because cognac has been exported for many years and the first importers spoke English.

     

    *Public-service organisation responsible for looking after the interests of cognac and all related activities.

     

    For more detail on cognac and how it is made at Martell, see our craftsmanship section.

    header-logo
    Age check! Are you of legal drinking age?
    Choose a country or region
    International
    Asia
    Chinese Mainland
    Hong Kong SAR (english)
    Hong Kong SAR (traditional chinese)
    Malaysia
    Singapore
    Taiwan
    Vietnam
    Canada (english)
    Canada (français)
    France
    Ghana
    Mexico
    Nigeria
    Poland
    Russia
    South Africa
    United Kingdom
    United States
    Year

    Remember Me

    Please do not tick this box if the device is shared with minors.

    Enter

    Martell & Co needs to process this information to make sure you have the legal age to access our website according to the applicable law. For further information, please consult our Privacy Policy

     ©2020 Martell. All rights reserved.

     

     

    Please do not share with anyone under 18. Drink responsibly.