Ararat have been in business since 1887, but only started distilling brandy in 1902. The company was founded by Nerses Tairyan and Vasily Tayrov, who operated out of a former fortress in Yerevan. They used traditional French distilling equipment to produce their spirit.
Ararat Armenian Brandy is said to have been given to Winston Churchill at the Yalta Conference. The wartime leader was said to have enjoyed the tipple so much that he ordered an annual supply of 400 bottles.
The brandy is made with local grapes from the Ararat valley, and contains some varieties that are only found within Armenia. 13 grape strains are used in total, with the main varietals being Voskehat, Garan Dmak and Kangun.
This bottling has been aged for 15 years in Armenian oak casks. Armenian oak typically has a tight grain, and is only felled once it has reached full maturation, around 70 years old.
The final result is a rich, fruity brandy packed with notes of dried fruits (particularly dried apricot), sweet grapes, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, chocolate, marzipan, dark oak, and slight espresso.
Extremely popular in its home country, this is a superb alternative to French Cognacs.