Telling customers about the differences betweeen VS, VSOP and XO is vital if retailers want to sell Cognac as a digestif, according to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac.
"The growth of Cognac is down to the fact that it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways," says BNIC marketing and communications director Jérôme Durand.
Durand believes that younger Cognacs - VS and VSOP - should be enjoyed on ice, in long drinks or cocktails, whereas older XO Cognac should be served neat as a digestif. "Older Cognacs have a huge length in the mouth, you don't put ice in it because you wouldn't feel this length and the aromas," he says.
"Today 70 to 80 per cent of the world-wide consumption of Cognac is done in the aperitif way," Durand adds. " Fifty per cent of sales are VS, 39 per cent are VSOP and only 11 per cent are XO."
By explaining to shoppers that a Cognac aged for a minimum of six years should be sipped
as a digestif, VS sales will grow above 11 per cent, Durand asserts.