One of the world’s great brandies, the finest of apple distillates named after the region of the same name in Normandy. The name Calvados only applies to high quality, refined apple brandies from that region. Low quality apple brandy may not be called Calvados but usually goes under the name of eau-de-vie de cidre.
AC Calvados, the best quality, comes from Pays d’Auge. Lower quality carries Appellation Réglementée Calvados on the label. 3 stars on the label indicates Calvados aged for at least one year in wooden casks. Vieux/Réserve: indicates 2 years; VO/Vieille Réserve: 3 years; VSOP: 4 years; Extra/Napoléon/Hors d’Age: 5 years or more; Fine is 2-3 years old. It takes 30 litres of cider to make 1 litre of Calvados. A glass of Calva in the middle of a meal is known as ‘un trou normand’, said to make a ‘hole’ for more food.