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What is a Fine? Why do You Read “Fine Cognac” on old labels?

Cognac Paradis Comandon Labels Fine VS and VSOP

Cognac Paradis Comandon Labels Fine VS and VSOP

Some cultures and countries have a real tradition in making brandy of wines like Spain or Armenia. They both have a set of specific traditions in aging and producing but at the end they produce a much sweeter brandy than say French brandy.

French brandies (i.e. generic of wines) appear in a wide variety of quality levels with some being ‘the run of the mill’ and other being absolutely outstanding.

So what is a ‘fine’? [pronouced feenne in this case].

A fine is a brandy made of distilled grape wines. Same thing as a grape brandy but it specifically separate from the other fruits’ brandies.

So when you read a cognac label that says ‘fine cognac’ or ‘vieille fine cognac’ it is referring to the term of ‘fine’ as of distilled grape based brandy. This term is only used by very old cognac brand since this was a statement mostly employed prior to the 1950s when the cognac appellation was not well protected by international treaties.

Cognac Paradis Comandon Acquit Regional Jaune D'Or

Cognac Paradis Comandon Acquit Regional Jaune D'Or

Another term you can read on old labels is “acquit regional jaune d’or”. This is a certificate issued y the local tax office that warrants the cognac has been produced and distilled in Cognac. It is a necessary for any cognac to be transported. It provides a control on the exchange of cognacs.  Cognac shipments require a certificate of “acquit regional jaune d’or” and it is a separate documents used by the customs to verify the quantities of cognacs exported. Simplified, one has to produce the cognac, then the cognac gets this certificate, and after this the cognac can leave the distilery or cellar to be transported or sold to someone else. Every cognac house has to manage these certificates but this mention does not appear on labels as this is ‘old school’. Now, consumers are not as worried as before about fake cognac.  People are more aware now that cognac is only coming from France than they were 50 years ago. The Acquit regional jaune d’or was created in 1929 and it was used in Cognac as part of the cognac regional effort to protect its regional characteristics.

2 comments on “What is a Fine? Why do You Read “Fine Cognac” on old labels?

  1. partnerskk
    July 7, 2014

    I have a 750 ml bottle of Godet Freres Grande Fine Cognac, Very Special, with a gold foil label that says acquit regional jaune d’or. It’s never been opened. Do you know if it has value?

    • cognacs
      September 21, 2014

      VS Bottles in general will have the least value. Regulations want that they are at least 2 years old, and in most cases they are only 2 years old. Grande Fine Cognac, does not mean anything but it is a confusing specification that is not great I think. Why? It confuses regulated terms between ‘Grande Champagne” and “Fine Champagne”. Hence, the value is mostly, and in this case it is true to, (a) the age of the bottle, (b) how common is this model, (c) the brand, and (d) the condition of the bottle, meaning labels conditions, cork, level of liquid left, etc. Without seeing the bottle I would not know. However, because it mentions “acquit regional jaune d’or” it tells me this bottle was made prior to 1980s. This terms used to be used a while ago to sell cognac, but it is very outdated. Every cognac on earth has this title. It is a necessary piece of administrative paper that every cognac has to get. Thank you for your question!

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This entry was posted on November 20, 2011 by in Consumer Issues, History and tagged , , , .
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