The classification on the age of XO Cognac will change from 1 April this year, with the minimum age for XO Cognac increasing from six years to 10.
The move was confirmed in a statement by the Bureau National Interprofessional du Cognac (BNIC), the association which governs the winemakers and traders within the Cognac region.
In its statement the BNIC said: “From 1 April 2018, and in accordance with the provisions of the Cognac specifications, all XO Cognac will be classified as 10 years old.
“This means that the youngest eau-de-vie included in a blend Cognac labelled XO must have been aged in barrels for at least 10 years, instead of the six years previously required.
“In practice, there are already many XO cognacs on the market with the youngest eau-de-vie exceeding 10 years of age. This measure aims align the regulation and the market reality, and also to extend the quality positioning of XO.”
The BNIC first announced the move back in 2011, with the last seven years being given over to Cognac brands in order to prepare for the change. There is also a provision for brands that have not sold any of its younger stocks of XO by 31 March 2018 to have these labelled as XO and to be sold until 31 March 2019.
The BNIC also confirmed that the classification for ‘Napoleon’ Cognac will remain unchanged at a minimum of being six years old.