Officially, like with an XO Cognac, the youngest eau-de-vie in a "Réserve" has to be aged for a minimum of 10 years. The average age is much older than that for a good Réserve Cognac.
A "Réserve Familiale" or a "Vieille Réserve" is a blend that uses very old eaux-de-vie from the Cognac house's or the family's "Paradis" cellars, the place where the oldest and most valuable barrels are stored. Due to the sparsity of the older eaux-de-vie, the amount of bottles produced is limited and obviously higher in price. A Réserve is a higher quality Cognac than an XO, a Napoleon, or an Extra.
Often, the Cognac brands design a bottle especially for their Réserve, or create the blend for a special occasion such an anniversary.The next level up from a Réserve is an Hors d'Age Cognac.
Learn more in our selection of educational Cognac articles.