Over the years many people have asked if barrels used for other drinks can be used for storing cognacs as is the case with whisky and some other brandies such as calvados. There is little doubt that whisky producers have stored their products in barrels that have been used for many different fine wines and spirits. Of note are barrels that have stored sherry, port, sauternes and even cognac. This practice, known as 'adding a finish', is generally used by the whisky industry and usually only for a few weeks which is sufficient to change the flavour and sometimes the characteristics of the spirit. It is an expensive procedure as it requires the purchase and storage of additional barrels so would probably only be used by the bigger producers, perhaps to gain dominance over their smaller competitors.
The cognac industry has always rejected this practice since the very unique definition and history of cognac has enabled it to stand out amongst other spirits. Not only has this definition been rigorously protected by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), but many small producers (there are thousands) would rebel at any suggestion that cognac could be turned into another drink, alien to the traditions of the spirit. Cognac is a proud industry whose values are rightly upheld and protected all over the world and although not as big as the whisky industry, is still regarded for its values as the King of all Spirits.
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