ArArAt brandies by Yerevan Brandy Company are a true legend. They encapsulate the spirit of Armenia with its vast cultural and historic heritage and they showcase the craftsmanship of Armenian artisans. Since the end of the 19th century this drink has been an integral element of quality lifestyle for many generations. Today ArArAt remains the most widely known and successful brand not only in Armenia, but also in the whole world. It has always been the flagship of Armenian brandies.
The production of brandy in Armenia was established in 1887. This is also the birth year of innovations, which over the years have become a signature feature of the ArArAt brand. Nerses Tairyan, a merchant of the top guild, built a wine and vodka factory here, and later launched the production of the first Armenian brandies. In a few years the enterprise was purchased by a famous Russian company N.L. Shustov & Sons. Since then Armenian brandies have been an indispensable element of His Imperial Majesty’s dining ceremonies. In 1902 there was a real breakthrough – the Armenian brandy won the Grand Prix in Paris, which was considered a testament to its superior quality, a sign of leadership and its innovative approach to the making of spirits. In 1953 it was transferred to the new monumental building – the pride of Armenia – and renamed the Yerevan Brandy Company. The factory, furnished with the most modern equipment, continues to manufacture the legendary Armenian ArArAt brandies to this day.
Now the history of ArArAt is going through another transitional phase. Phoenix, a legendary fiery bird, has become the brand’s new symbol, which stands for the positive change. In public conscience Phoenix personifies renovation and prosperity, as well as adherence to tradition. In the last 5 years ArArAt has become the CIS market leader not only among Armenian brandies, but also among all non-French brandies. The brand’s active position and innovations stimulated the development of the industry as a whole. Thanks to the company’s efforts premium alcohol segment was widely broadened, its sales volumes skyrocketed, creating a positive impact on neighboring industries.
ArArAt’s undeniably high status and universal brand recognition facilitated the recent sweeping overhaul: the packaging for the entire ArArAt line has been modernized. In a contemporary rendition of classic forms, ArArAt now boasts a hot new image. These changes in the life of the brand emphasize the status of an undisputed leader that it enjoys in the world of premium brandies.
ArArAt remains true to its ambition to maintain high quality standards for the entire alcohol industry. The overhauled design of the packaging for these Armenian brandies is one of the elements of this ambitious plan.
Each of the 7 brandies included in the ArArAt line – 3 stars, 5 stars, Ani, Otborny, Akhtamar, Vaspurakan and Nairi – has its own unique taste.
The legendary Phoenix is a symbol of eternal renewal. Thanks to its ability to be reborn and its limitless vitality, the idea of such a bird entered into the mythological culture of many countries under different names: Benu in Egypt, Zharptitsa in Russia, Huma in Iran and Feihuan in China.
Armenia also has its own Phoenix – Azarar Blbul, “the nightingale of a thousand voices with feathers of fire”. Burning to death only to reemerge from the ashes, the bird has always been present in the Armenian artistic tradition as a symbol of the immortality of art. Armenia itself is often compared to the Phoenix, as the country managed to rebuild itself after many extremely difficult periods of history.
The ArArAt brand went through a relatively quiet period during the Soviet era, but now it has reached a whole new level, characterized by rapid growth, renewal and prosperity, which is why a new symbol has been selected – namely, the Phoenix.
The letter A, which encircles the bird, is very important for the brand. Above all, it symbolizes Armenia, as well as the sacred Mount ArArAt and the first letter of the alphabet. Its important mission is also to stand for the highest “A-rated” quality.
This new unique brand symbol is a badge of distinction for ArArAt brandies. It emphasizes their legendary value and guarantees supreme quality.
Armenian brandy is a product regulated by the Standard of the Republic of Armenia. According to the law, this is a product made form Armenian grape varieties following a regulated production method. All stages involved in production of Armenian brandy must take place in Armenia. The varieties of grape that can be used in production of Armenian brandy, the minimum three-year aging process, as well as a multitude of technical requirements that are needed to craft the legendary ArArAt brandies are duly formalized in legislation.
The special endemic grape varieties with flavor properties that are no longer available anywhere in the world are used in production of ArArAt (as these grapes are the only ones that survived the phylloxera epidemics). In all, there are about 13 such varieties, with the main ones including grapes such as Voskehat, Garandmak, Chilar, Mskhali, Kangun and Rkaziteli. The grape harvesting takes place in September-October followed by pressing. The grapes are loaded in special horizontal screw presses where berries are pressed in a very gentle way to avoid causing damage to seeds. What is achieved in the outcome is called must (or grape juice). Different varieties do not get mixed, and each separate must is sent along its own way to the fermentation vat.
Sugar content in the grapes must be at least 17%. One metric ton of grape produces approximately 800 liters of must.
The fermentation process takes its natural course. Ethyl alcohol is released in the must under temperatures of 25-26° and seven days later it turns into dry white wine with 12-14% alcohol content.
Unfiltered young dry white wine, with 12-14% alcohol content, depending on grape variety (as grapes are not mixed before blending).
Steam distillation is used in production of ArArAt brandies. This method takes more time and is more complicated, but helps preserve all flavor qualities of Armenian grapes and pass them on unchanged to the spirits.
The still used during the first phase of distillation has the capacity of 5,000 liters.
The first phase of distillation produces 30-34% wash distillate.
The still used for the second distillation has the capacity of 1,500 liters.
The resulting product is alcohol, which is divided into three fractions, namely, head, heart and tail. Only the heart fraction is used in ArArAt brandy production, which has 73% alcohol.
Casks from the Caucasian (Armenian) oak are used in ArArAt brandy production. This oak species has rather tight pinkish grain and is virtually devoid of pores. Oak trees are at least 70 years old when they are harvested, and only the middle part of the tree is used in cooperage. First, the oak is seasoned during 36 months and then split along the grain to obtain the so-called staves, which are further used to construct a cask.
The oak imparts to ArArAt brandies its natural flavor notes and aromas of dried fruits, spices, vanilla and chocolate. The spirits distilled from endemic varieties of grape contact the cask made from the Caucasian oak and give birth to a unique Ararat brandy bouquet. During the aging process, the oak interacts with alcohol and does some breathing, which gives rise to an oxidation-reduction process resulting in evaporation of alcohol to the tune of 5% of each cask’s content per year. The evaporated part is called the “angels’ share”.
The YBC blending masters combine various spirits produced from different grapes and of different ages to create a unique brandy composition from the ArArAt range.
Filtered spring water from the Katnakhpiur source is used during ArArAt brandy blending. The finished blend is sent to repose, which is when the spirits assimilate and attain the best balance and harmony of flavors and aroma.
After the repose and just prior to bottling the brandy is chilled and then filtered twice.
Modern bottling line used at the YBC complies with all quality standards and is unparalleled in a sense that before brandy is ever poured inside the bottle, the bottle is rinsed twice: once using at least 10-year old brandy spirit and later using the same brandy that goes into the bottle. This prepares the bottle for brandy storage and serves as another reminder of the highest quality standards applied to ArArAt brandy production.
The range of ArArAt brandies includes next segments:
The 50% alcohol Dvin was a favorite drink of the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He first tried it during his meeting with Stalin and Roosevelt in Yalta.
Thereafter, on Stalin’s orders, Churchill subsequently received a shipment of Dvin every month. Until the end of his days, the Prime Minister was a devoted admirer of this legendary Armenian brandy, since Dvin is a drink for real connoisseurs who can properly appreciate the unique qualities of a great brandy.
ArArAt Ani – 40 ml
Walnut – 20 gm
Maple Syrup – 15 ml
Lemon Juice – 15 ml
Crush shelled walnut in shaker, add all ingredients and mix. Serve in cocktail glass after sifting.
ArArAt Ani – 40 ml
Sugar Syrup – 20 ml
Lemon Juice – 20 ml
Pomegranate Juice – 20 ml
Sprite – 50 ml
Mix all ingredients in a shaker, pour into an ice filled cognac glass, add Sprite.
ArArAt Ani – 30 ml
Orange – 50 gm
Dried pitted and halved apricot – 20 gm
Limoncello – 20 ml
Mash orange and dried apricot in a toll glass; add crushed ice; add all ingredients. Mix, add ice and decorate with dried apricot.
ArArAt Ani – 40 ml
Blackcurrant liqueur – 30 ml
Cream (11%) – 30 ml
Grenadine – 5 ml
Mix in a shaker with ice; sprinkle with cinnamon and decorate the rim of the glass with chocolate chips.
ArArAt Ani – 40 ml
Soho (lychee based liqueur) – 5 ml
7UP or Sprite – 150 ml
Lime – 2 slices; squeeze into the glass
Ice – 5-6 cubes
Served in a tall glass, undecorated. The cocktail was created to honor the famous pop artist Cher during her Moscow 2004 tour. The name of the cocktail was inspired by one of her hit singles.