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A new Cognac year begins

March 31st is the official end of the cognac year when all distillation must cease. In practice distillation will probably have finished around Christmas, but on the 1st April all cognacs become 'comtpe 0' - the official start of the cognacs long ageing process.

Cognacs put into barrels by 31st March 2011 will become 1 year old on 31st March 2012. This is the reason why people tend to express ages using the half year term. For example, three and a half when referring to the minimum ages of VSOP, or six and a half for XO. A cognac may have been put into the oak barrels in April, or in late March, a difference in maturation time of over 11 months! With the larger manufacturers using increasingly short maturation times, this "half year" can make a noticeable difference.

Some of the Hermitage cognacs made this year will be ready to drink in another fifty years. Hermitage cognacs are all aged naturally and that is why they are so good...