Armagnac XO age requirement increased to 10 years

The Bureau National Interprofessionnel de l’Armagnac (BNIC) has increased the minimum age requirement for XO armagnac from six to 10 years, following in the philosophy of Cognac.

The minimum age of an XO armagnac is now 10 years

Effective from 1 April 2018, it means that 10 years is now the minimum age of the youngest eau-de-vie in an armagnac blend marked XO.

Producers with XO armagnac with a stated minimum of six years will be allowed to be sold until stocks last, however any XO bottle from 1 April must follow the new age guidelines.

The trade body said that it hope the changes will help to raise the “value of the appellation” and emphasise the “real differences” between its classifications such as VS, VSOP and Napoleon.

Marc Darroze, president of the BNIA, said: “It had become essential to bring the reality of the Armagnac maturation and the blends from our operators closer to the denominations.

“Thus, this is a way for all operators to clearly value these Armagnacs which, for the most part, are blends of eaux-de-vie older than 10 years.

“It is also more coherent to offer spirit enthusiasts in France and particularly on the export markets a certain homogeneity in the denominations.”

The minimum age of an armagnac blend is now as follows :-

  • VS and *** – 1-3 years
  • VSOP – 4-9 years
  • Napoleon – 6-9 years
  • XO, Hors d’Age and Vintages – 10+ years

The new regulations bring the age requirements of armagnac in line with Cognac, which also increased its XO classification from six to 10 years this year.

The change was first raised back in 2011 and the interim has been to allow brands to adapt to the change, although the BNIC also noted that many were already using 10-year-old eaux-de-vie for their XOs. The designation of ‘Napoleon’ Cognac will remain unchanged with the minimum required age of the spirit used being six years.

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