Difference between Napoleon and XO Cognac?
Q: On the internet I just can not find information about the difference between a XO and Napoleon. They should have the same maturation, but many makers sell a Napoleon and XO. How old is an average Napoleon? Is always above VSOP and Napoleon?
Answer: Thanks for your question! The term Napoleon on a Cognac bottle (see: How to read a Cognac label) is always better than a VSOP (maturation of at least 4 years). According the French law, the term Napoleon is similar to the XO, since they both require a maturation of 6 years.
All houses using the term Napoleon and XO, have positioned the XO above the Napoleon. The XO’s are usually much older then the mandatory 6 years. XO’s with an average of 25 years are not an exception.
“The biggest Cognac-houses are proud that they are using much older cognacs stock for their blends.”
At the moment XO and Napoleon Cognacs are having the same requirements, but form 2016 not any more. Then an must be at least XO 10 years old, the Napoleon remains at a minimum age of 6 years…
To clarify a few things, below a summary of how long a Cognac must be aged for the used quality’s.