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Bob Tessier

Armagnac question

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I have a bottle of Castarede XO 20 yr old. Given that XO means aged in oak minimum of six years and Hors d'Age means ten or more years, why wouldn't a 20 yr old Armagnac be designated Hors d'Age? How can it be both XO and 20 yrs old?

 

You would not believe the time I have spent online looking for an answer to this one ....

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According to a 2004 piece I read in the NYT, here's the explanation for aging appelations with Armangac:

 

As with Cognac, the nomenclature used for Armagnac has long had a black market vagueness. But recent efforts have made it more systematic. The current rules require Armagnacs labeled VS to be aged at least three years; those labeled VO, VSOP or Réserve to be aged at least five years; those labeled Extra, XO, Napoléon or Vieille Réserve to be aged at least six years; and those labeled Hors d'Âge to be aged at least 10 years.

 

So perhaps your bottle was bottled/labeled prior to the most recent change in naming convention?

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Or maybe each older classification is a member of the previous classification (all Hors d'Age is XO, but all XO is not necessarily Hors d'Age). I sell a 144 year old Cognac, but to classify it, it is actually an XO, because no older classification exists.

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