Named after the town of Cognac, France, is a variety of brandy that is distilled from white wine. The four largest Cognac houses consists of Martell (oldest), Hennessy, Remy Martin, and lastly Courvoisier.
In order for a brandy to be considered a Cognac, the production method must follow specific legal requirements. The grapes used to create the white wine must follow a very strict list of grape varieties. The wine from these grapes are very dry, acidic, and thin. Often described as “virtually undrinkable”, however, they make for the perfect combination for distillation and aging . As this process completes, the finish product is stored in Limousin oak casks for at least two years before it can be sold to the public. Generally, cognacs are blended with other components to obtain a complexity of flavor that a single barrel could not achieve (this blending is called the marriage) (Wiki).
Grade Quality of Cognacs:
V.S. (Very Special) – for cognac blends in which the youngest blend is stored for at least 2 years in a cask.
V.S.O.P. (Very Superior Old Pale) – for cognac blends in which the youngest blend is stored for at least 4 years in a cask.
XO (Extra Old) – also known as Napoleon, designates a blend that has the youngest blend in a cask for at least 6 years. In 2016, this minimum is increased to 10 years.
While this brief detailing of cognac is informational and fun to throw out at social events, what is the main takeaway? It is that with enough time and effort, we can literally turn crap to gold. So while someone may not be where they’ve envisioned themselves right now, what must be understood is that this moment is only a moment and it’ll past. It is up to us to choose how the next moment will be, whether for better or worst. And even if it’s worst, as long as we understand that it will pass and that personal greatness takes time and is achievable (to a degree) as long as the work is put in. The goal is not to be better than the Jones. It is to be better than the Me right now. So all we need to do is strive to be the best Me and the journey itself will take care of the rest. One day we’ll wake up, look in the mirror, and realized that alchemy was real all along.