/kohn"yak, kon"-/; Fr. /kaw nyannk"/, n.1. (often cap.) the brandy distilled in and shipped from the legally delimited area surrounding the town of Cognac, in W central France.2. any French brandy.3. any good brandy.[1585-95; < F]
* * *Brandy from the French departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime.Tracing its origin to the 17th century, cognac (named for the town of Cognac) is distilled from white wine in special pot stills (alembics) and aged in Limousin oak. Most cognacs spend from one and one-half to five years in wood, though rarer varieties may age much longer.
* * *▪ Francetown, Charente département, Poitou-Charentes région, western France. It lies 20 miles (30 km) west-northwest of Angoulême. The town gives its name to the brandy distilled there and exported all over the world. The distilling of cognac is its main industry and provides the impetus for the manufacture of casks and bottles, packaging materials, and printing works. Cognac was the birthplace of King Francis I (reigned 1515–47). Its possession was contested during the Wars of Religion. An air force pilot's school is located there. Pop. (1999) 19,534; (2005 est.) 19,400.
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