What’s your favourite alcoholic drink? Beer, Rum, Whiskey, Tequila, Gin, Vodka, Wine, Brandy … The list is not over though. If you choose brandy then you should definitely visit Armenia and taste its brandy.
Armenia has a long-standing tradition of producing brandy. In fact, the local legend tells that Armenia has been distilling wine into brandy since the 12th century. And if it is true then the production of brandy in Armenia predated alcohol distillation in France and Spain by several centuries.
During the late 19th century a thriving brandy industry developed in Armenia. Armenian Brandy was also labeled Kanyak, the Armenian spelling for Cognac.
For a brief time, only one Armenian producer, Nicolay Shustov, had the right to label his brandy as Cognac. Shustov was the official supplier of Armenian brandy to the court of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II. His company, Shustov & Sons, eventually became the Yerevan Brendy Company, Armenia’s largest brandy producer.
Interestingly, a quarter of all of the brandy produced in the Soviet Union was provided by Armenia. At the Yalta Conference in 1944, Joseph Stalin gave Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt copious quantities of an Armenian brandy produced by the Yerevan Brandy company called Dvin.
It’s believed that Churchill was fond of Armenian brandy and had an arrangement with Stalin for a regular supply the Armenian brandy.
Brandy production is still a big business in Armenia and there are several interesting points about Armenian brandy production. First, it only utilizes indigenous grape varieties. Armenia has over 200 indigenous grape varieties, most of which are very old.
Besides, law permits to use only the following grape varieties for brandy production: Voskehat, Garan Dmak, Mskhali, Kangun and Rkatsiteli. In Armenia, grapes are usually grown widely, with the best coming from Western Armenia in the Ararat Valley, beneath Mount Ararat.
And finally brandy is produced using a double distillation process.
Armenian wine is of course one of the respected alcoholic drinks not only in the country but also in the world; brandy, however, is the top of it. That is why it’s usually said that art is wine and the experience is the brandy distilled from it.
Made by Melanya Hovhannisyan