Hennessy’s Cognac expert Gwendoline Poirier gives you exclusive advice on how you can taste the three varieties of cognac known as VS, VSOP and XO. Discover all about it here.

Here’s how you can taste the three varieties of cognac known as VS, VSOP and XO, according to Hennessy’s expert Gwendoline Poirier.

But, first an introduction to cognac VS, VSOP and XO.

  • Cognac VS –Very Special: a mixture of different cognacs, the youngest of which ages for two years.
  • Cognac VSOP –Very Superior Old Pale: VSOP cognac is a blend of different cognacs. These have been aged for a minimum of four years, and take into account the youngest of these VSOP blends of cognac, which is four years old.
  • Cognac XO –Extra Old: XO cognac must be aged for at least 10 years. Before 2018, XO cognac had to be aged for at least four years, but from that year onwards the minimum ageing to qualify as XO is 10 years.


How to taste different types of cognac


Tasting VS cognac

To taste VS cognac you can prepare a cocktail with lemonade, ginger and lime. Something easy to recreate at home and soft to taste. Neat or with ice, although it should be noted that it will have a stronger taste than an older cognac.

Tasting VSOP cognac

This type of cognac like the Hennessy Privilege goes very well with cocktails like the classic Sazerac. This cocktail features absinthe, ginseng, cardamom, cinnamon and other spices, simple syrup and Angostura Bitter.

Tasting XO cognac

The best way to taste such an aged cognac is on the rocks or dry. For neat tasting, you need a tulip-shaped glass to allow a better appreciation of the color and the smell to elevate up to the nose. If you prefer rocks, a tumbler glass.


Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.

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