Cognac is no ordinary brandy. Anyone can make brandy, but Cognac comes only from the Charente region of France, southwest of Paris located on the northern border of Bordeaux. Fermented wine, mostly from ugni blanc grapes grown in six crus (areas), is double distilled in the unique Charentais method. Producers use copper alembic stills as regulated by the Cognac AOC (Controlled Appellation of Origin). Distillation is based on principles of chemistry and physics: When wine is brought to a boil, alcohol and aroma molecules turn to vapor. When cooled, the vapors return to a liquid of alcohol and water. Each Cognac house customizes the distillation process with its unique blend of wine and methods for cutting the best distillate from the process flow. The finished distillate, called eau de vie (water of life), is barrel aged from two years to 60 years or more in oak barrels and slowly evolves into Cognac.