XXO Cognacs join the appellation

Tuesday January 08 2019 by Vitisphere

Created in 1870, the XXO statement was used by Hennessy until 1932, judging by bottles found. The eponymous brand was re-launched at the end of 2017.Created in 1870, the XXO statement was used by Hennessy until 1932, judging by bottles found. The eponymous brand was re-launched at the end of 2017. - Photo credit : Hennessy

The statement XXO, for ‘Extra Extra Old’, can now be used for Cognac with a proven age of 14 years or more, in accordance with new specifications for the appellation, following a November 8, 2018 decree. “Stemming from XO, XXO is designed for collective use and cannot be appropriated by a brand”, explains Éric Billhouet, chairman of the Cognac producers’ organisation, a section of the National Cognac Marketing Board BNIC, who admits that so far use of the statement has only been requested by one Charente house, though it is a prominent one.

Claiming authorship of the XO and XXO designations - in 1870 by Maurice Hennessy - Hennessy Cognacs can now confidently re-release their XXO label, sale of which was suspended from the end of 2017 to mid-2018 by French trading standards. The authorities viewed XXO as a misuse of the ageing statement. Their viewpoint was shared by some Charente firms, at a time when innovation within the category remains very much a sensitive issue, as revealed by Martell's Blue Swift, whose maturation is finished in Bourbon barrels.

Common agreement

The decision was taken by mutual agreement between the trade, producers, the marketing board and producers’ organisation”, says Florent Morillon, production director for Hennessy, who is also chairman of the Regional INAO Committee (CRINAO). Although any company that complies with the specifications is eligible for the statement, Cognac’s leading firm is positioning its XXO as “an exceptional bottling, with a price tag twice that of the XO”, points out Florent Morillon. Released in Asian duty-free channels, the limited edition Cognac could also be distributed in other markets.

 

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