XXO stands for 'extra extra old', and is a brand new category that was officially added to the description of Cognac ages in 2018. Just as with the other age descriptions of Cognac, VS, VSOP, and XO, an XXO Cognac consists of eau-de-vie that's been aged within French oak barrels. But in the case of an XXO, to qualify the minimum length of aging is 14 years. This makes an XXO Cognac the oldest official rating a Cognac can hold.
Of course, there are other commonly used expressions that describe Cognacs that have been aged well beyond these 14 years. These include Hors d'Age, Extra, and Tres Vieille Réserve. However, these are not official categories. So no matter how old a Cognac might be, it falls into the XXO category. In fact, before the landmark 2018 ruling brought about by Hennessy and other Cognac producers, any Cognac that had been aged for more than six years was counted as an XO, even if it was more than a century old!
Discover more about the age categories, and all things Cognac in our series of educational Cognac articles.
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