of Cognac and of Armagnac
The porosity of the wood allows indirect contact between the brandy and the surrounding air.
This transfer of the natural characteristics of the oak leads, in time, to the formation of rancio, and develops the bouquet of the Cognac or the typical aromas of the Armagnac.
The barrels which are used contain between 270 and 450 litres for Cognac, and 400litres for Armagnac.
A good balance between humidity and dryness must exist for the brandies to age in the most well-balanced way during the 3 phases of maturing.
This is the first period, during which the new brandy is placed in new oak barrels. Some of the volatile ingredients are eliminated, and the brandies go from being colourless to yellow, taking the flavour of the oak.
The flavours of the alcohol and the oak gently cancel each other out. The colour becomes brown.
the taste becomes smoother, the flavour of oak gives way to floral flavours, and the colour darkens. During the years, the brandy becomes increasingly mellow, and the bouquet becomes richer. The “rancio” appears.
Then, when maturity is attained, after 70/80 years spent in the barrels, the cellar master decides to transfer the brandies into glass demijohns called “Dames-Jeannes” in which they can remain protected from the air for several decades without changing.