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Cognac is a strong, fragrant and delicate alcoholic drink that ages for at least two years. It is produced by the method of double distillation of some varieties of wine from the Middle Ages. Every time we buy a bottle of cognac or, if we are in Moldova, a bottle of divin, we notice that they have a certain number of stars: 3, 5 or 7, or, they are "marked" by some Latin symbols. But what do these symbols mean?

These letters on bottles of cognac represent the mark of quality of the drink that were set by Le Bureau National Interprofessionel de Cognac, an organization established in 1946 to ensure quality and fair competition:

VS means Very Special, and usually refers to young cognacs, which are stored for at least two years in oak barrels.

VSOP stands for Very Special Old Pale and refers to young cognacs that age for at least 4 years in wooden barrels. The wood itself, from which the barrels are made, is much older.

XO stands for Extra Old and refers to cognacs that age for at least 6 years, but the average ripening period in this category is 20 years.

XXO (Extra Extra Old) is cognac with a maturity of at least 20 years.

There are also such marks as Napoleon, Extra, Vieux, Vieille Réserve or Hors d'ãge.

For example Napoleon is a mark similar to XO, but more often these cognacs are positioned somewhere between VSOP and XO.

The Extra symbol refers to cognacs that age not less than 6 years, but usually Extra cognacs are older than Napoleon or XO.

Hors d'Agge (which means "without age" in French) is considered at the same level as XO, but producers of cognacs attribute this category to high-quality cognacs, that age for a long period of time.

Vieille Réserve has the same meaning and is somewhere between VSOP and XO.

The "stars" refer more to cognacs produced in the former USSR. That is why in the Republic of Moldova divins are classified with the initials of VSOP, XO, etc., as well as according to the following criterion:

"3 stars" - divins are made from distillates of wine aged not less than 3 years;
"4 stars" - divins are made from distillates of wine aged not less than 4 years;
with special names - Barza Albă, Aroma, are made from distillates of wine with aged for 3-5 years;
"5 stars" - divins are made from distillates of wine aged not less than 5 years;
"DVM" (mature) - divins are made from distillates of wine aged for 6-7 years;
"DVS" (the highest quality) - divins are made from distillates of wine aged for 8-9 years;
"DVV" (old) - divins are made from distillates of wine aged for 10-19 years;
DVFV (very old) - divins are made from distillates of wine with aged for 20 years;
Collectible divins (with an additional maturation of at least three years).

photo source: alkorules.ru