Calvados is a cider brandy notably from the French region of Normandy with records, including those form Charles I, dating as far back as the 8th century.
Calvados starts out life as a dry cider, where old apple varieties may be chosen that are either tart, bitter or sweet, before being pressed, and then distilled into eaux de vie, which is then aged for a minimum of two years in oak before being bottled as Calvados.
Quality is reflected in the terroir, the apples selected, their pressing, and the of course ageing process.
The first known Norman distillation was carried out by Lord de Gouberville in 1554, and the guild for cider distillation was created about 50 years later in 1606.
In the 17th century the traditional cider farms expanded but taxation and prohibition of cider brandies were enforced elsewhere other than Brittany, Maine and Normandy.