Cognac is a distilled alcoholic spirit; a variety of brandy named after the town of Cognac in France. It is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name, in the French Departements of Charente and Charente-Maritime.
For a distilled brandy to bear the name Cognac, an Appellation d'origine contrôlée, its production methods must meet certain legal requirements. In particular, it must be made from specified grapes (see below), of which Ugni blanc, known locally as Saint-Emilion, is the one most widely used. The brandy must be twice distilled in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Tronçais. Cognac matures in the same way as whiskies and wine when aged in barrels, and most cognacs are aged considerably longer than the minimum legal requirement.