Armagnac, the French brandy distilled from grapes and aged in oak barrels, is produced in the departments of Gers, Landes and Lot-et-Garonne, in southwestern France. This classic elixir is extracted from white wines made with folle blanche and colombard grapes and enjoys great popularity like the France’s emblematic cognacs.
The spirit comes from the Armagnac region, in the heart of Gascony, between Bordeaux and the Pyrenees, surrounded by the Garonne River and the French Basque country. The three denominations of origin for Armagnac are Bas-Armagnac, Armagnac Ténarèze, and Haut-Armagnac.
Furthermore, Armagnac is classified into various categories depending on the time the product rests in the barrels.
• VS, VSP, Three stars: at least two years.
• VSOP Reserve: a minimum of four years.
• XO, Napoleon, Extra, Luxury, Vieille Réserve: a minimum of six years.
• Hors d’Age: a minimum of ten years.
We’d like to present a selection of labels that must be experienced before we can acknowledge Armagnac as one of the best spirits in the world:
Domaine Joy Xo 1986
DISTILLERY: Joy // D.O.C.: Bas Armagnac
Domaine Joy XO comes in a Paco Rabanne hand blown glass bottle decorated with silver, a limited edition of 397 bottles. Its color is coppery amber and feels very fine and elegant closer to the nose; it shows excellent toasted flavors, nuts, fruit compote and a cocoa background. Large and complex in the mouth, it is rich and silky, and its balsamic end and lingering taste are always memorable.
Château de Laubade Extra
DISTILLERY: Château de Laubade // D.O.C.: Bas Armagnac
It shows a fine amber color with golden highlights. Close to the nose, it is remarkable for its complexity and marked memories of its long time in the barrels, featuring toasted notes of cedar, spicy and balsamic hints and a powerful experience of ripe fruit. In the mouth, it is easy to perceive the powerful nature of its maturation. Its passage is warm and mild with a crushing end.
DISTILLERY: Darticalongue // D.O.C.: Bas Armagnac
With a soft amber color, its aromas evoke fruits, hints of cereal, dried bitter orange peel and soothing herbs in the background. It is also dry and complex in the mouth with good structure and excellent wood flavors from its maturing time. With hints of licorice and anise, this is a persistent Armagnac that will leave vivid memories on the palate.
DISTILLERY: Saint-Vivant // D.O.C.: Bas Armagnac
With a lovely amber color, its aroma is full and inviting, rich in pleasant toasted oak notes, with a floral touch and a smoky charcoal background. It is serious and dry in the mouth in a warm and comforting way, very aromatic and with fruity flavors. Its end is resounding and lasting. This Armagnac is not easily forgotten thanks to its exceptional quality and the original design of its bottle. ■