Spirits


Ararat: The Most Exclusive Armenian Brandy

J.M. Towers


The most famous brandy in Armenia, the favorite of Czar Nicholas II, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill was the spirit used for the toast at the historic Yalta Conference in 1945.


Ararat brandy is the best-known spirit from the Republic of Armenia, a country located in the Caucasus, bordering Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. It is believed that brandy was already being distilled in these lands at the time of the Babylonians, long before the 14th century when it became popular in Europe.

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Ararat Armenian brandy.

Ararat is currently the most famous and exclusive brandy from Armenia and has been compared to cognac on more than one occasion. It is produced by the Yerevan Brandy Company, which monopolized its production during the Soviet era becoming the heir to a great industry that emerged in 1887 in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Brandy from Armenia was widely sold in the former Soviet Republics and it is still the drink of choice for many people.

During its golden years, this company supplied Armenian brandy to the court of Czar Nicholas II. Since then, their products have been praised by the public and connoisseurs—even Cognac producers—and has earned several medals at World Expos.

The brandy takes its name from Mount Ararat, regarded as a sacred place. According to the Bible, Noah planted the first vine on its slopes after leaving his ark. It is a symbol of identity and pride for Armenians.

The only grapes used for the preparation of this spirit are local varieties that have unique properties thanks to the microclimate of the Ararat Valley. The traditional method of double distillation retains the flavor and aroma of the grapes, which are transferred to the brandy. The aging is done exclusively in Armenian oak barrels that confer the brandy exquisite aromas and flavors reminiscent of nuts, spices, dark chocolate, and vanilla.

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The Yerevan rises on the right bank of the Hrazdan River.

Each of the seven spirits included in the Ararat line: 3 Stars, 5 Stars, Ani, Otborny, Akhtamar, Vaspurakan, and Nairi, have unique identities marked by different nuances.

Yerevan Brandy Company is part of Pernod Ricard Group, the world’s leading distributor of wines and premium spirits. Thanks to the cooperation with this international group, the legendary Ararat brand has positioned itself as one of the most prestigious and rare brandies in the world.

The label’s Exclusive Collection, includes the most exquisite and sophisticated products of Ararat range: Armenia, and Dvin. The latter is a select ten-year-old brandy, which became a favorite of Sir Winston Churchill after Stalin chose it to toast at the historic Yalta Conference in 1945, which united the allied powers in the fight against Nazi Germany. The British Prime Minister received 400 bottles of Dvin every year from Armenia. This particular brandy was named in honor of the ancient capital Dvin, and was first produced in 1943.

Meanwhile, the Armenia line is a limited edition of 10,000 bottles, created to commemorate the country’s independence, which took place on September 21, 1991. The spirits used for this precious mixture were aged in oak barrels from 1991 until they went on sale in 2011.

The Yerevan Brandy Company has also prepared the Peace Barrel, which will be opened and put on sale when the 100-year old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan—for the control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region—finally comes to an end.  ■

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