Mark your calendars: On April 1, 2018, Cognac Ageing Designations are about to undergo their first major change since 1983. According to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC): “as of April 1, 2018, all cognac brandy XO marketed for sale in bulk or prepackaged consumer goods, with the exception of volumes placed on the market or prepacked before that date, shall be debited from account 10”.
The change means that in order for a Cognac to carry the designation “X.O. (Extra Old)”, the youngest eau-de-vie must be at least ten years old. Under the 1983 designations in order for a Cognac to be designated XO, the youngest eau-de-vie needed to be at least six years old. The requirement that the youngest eau-de-vie needs to be at least six years old for a Cognac to be designated “Napoléon” will remain, thus drawing a distinction between “Napoléon” and “XO” Cognacs.
For current XO Cognacs on the market up until March 31 2018, the BNIC has set a time limit until March 31, 2019 for such Cognacs to continue to carry the XO designation.
The impact of this change remains to be seen. For those cognac drinkers that enjoy the current XO offerings, we expect that the Cognac Houses may simply continue to produce them and re-label them “”Napoléon” or forego any designation. For example, Rémy Martin could continue to produce Rémy Martin XO Excellence and simply rename it Rémy Martin Excellence. We expect that most Cognac Houses will also begin to produce the longer aged ten year XO Cognacs.
The designation changes should provide a challenge for Cognac Houses to produce finer, longer-aged (and more expensive) Cognacs.
To see X.O. Cognac reviews, click here.