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Because of the high alcohol content in Brandy (usually between 35% and 60%), this spirit drink will not usually turn bad. As a matter of fact, unopened Brandy can keep fresh indefinitely if stored properly in a tightly sealed container, away from heat or light. After being opened, a bottle of Brandy can still keep its integrity although there will be some permanent changes to the taste and quality. Proper storage of Brandy therefore, is key for long preservation. Commercial aging of Brandies is done in wooden casks while others are coloured with caramel colouring to imitate the effect of aging, still others are produced using a combination of these. The price usually depend on the age and other modified processing that the Brandy has undergone.
Armenia is a small country in East Europe, located between the Anatolian Peninsula and the Caspian Sea. The country, among other things in its rich history, boasts the birthplace of wine making. The legend is Armenia is that, as far back as the 12th Century, the Armenians were distilling wine. While this claim is debatable and the evidence is inconclusive, one thing is undisputable: Armenia is one of the oldest wine producers, dating back as far as 6000 years. Brandy production in Armenia dates back to the 19th century when brandy industry developed in Armenia. This timely happened during the time that Cognac brandy from Russia was enjoying a period of great success. In fact, the first Armenia brandy was named Kanyak – the Armenia translation of Cognac. Although brands have acquired trademark names ever since, the name is predominant in Armenia, Russia and some other former Soviet States.
Nikolai Shustov, once an official supplier to Armenian brandy to the court of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II, started his own brandy company known as Shustov & Sons, which was eventually renamed to Yerevan Brandy Company, Armenia’s largest brandy producer. One legend is that Stalin once at the Yalta Conference in 1944, plied Winston Churchill with Dvin, an Armenian brandy produced by the Yerevan Brandy Company. Churchill was so smitten that he made an arrangement with Stalin for a regular supply of the brandy to be shipped to him. While the story may not ultimately be true, it is not an exaggeration to say that Armenian brandy is (and has always been) one of the best in world. Currently the country produces around 20 million litres, with about 90% of it exported. To the western hemisphere, the most popular ones are the AraratTM brandy series, we will briefly discuss the Ararat Akhmar in the next section.
The Ararat Akhtmar
The brandy, 10 YO, 40% ABV, 750 ml sells for an average price 45 – 100$ on retail. This can be obtained for 62$ on Cigsweb shipping included. The colour is a rich mahogany. There is a distinctive dried dark fruit sweetness on the nose; exotic tropical spices with notes of vanilla and butterscotch follow this. Lively and elegant aroma. On the palate, the brandy has a rich, creamy feel with components of raisings, figs, apricots and a hint of pear. Light dryness at the end is counter balanced by shades of cinnamon along with a beat of toasted oak. This brandy is not easy to find – unless of course if you opt to shop on Cigsweb. At 62$ with free shipping (delivery) it represents an outstanding offer.
In Yerevan, the Armenian capital houses the most brandy producers per capita than any other place on Earth. And these are serious operations not some backyard distilleries making some cheap, eye-watery strong fruit brandies. These operations spill out some real high quality high-end spirits. Regarded, as one of the best ones in the world. Most people believe its France that dominates the wines and spirits world, maybe even that’s what you believe as well. However, Armenia has always been an important and crucial member at the world’s spirits and wines stage. Most people immediately associate the word “Cognac” and France, well don’t leave out Armenia, because once you taste the magnificent Armenian Cognac, you may never go back again. Believe it or not, the finest brandies comes not from the central regions of France, but from the valleys of Armenia.