My tip on how to enjoy a world-known Armenian Cognac - Ararat Brandy would be: wait until the evening, cut some slices of peach and put some dark chocolate next to it, find your perfect jazz music, take a brandy glass filled with an aged cognac, hold it with your left hand (closer to your heart), let it get the warmth of your body through your hands, smell it and drink slowly to feel the taste of each drop.
A dark cellar, huge wooden barrels lying next to each other filled with a dark brownish color liquid, even the smell of which makes you tipsy - welcome to the Yerevan Brandy Company founded in 1887. Being a home to a legendary drink, the museum of the Brandy Company is visited by the official delegations from different countries as well as by many curious tourists. As the demand of the visitors is high, it works seven days a week. Besides getting familiar with the history of brandy making in Armenia, as well as seeing brandy barrels with the signatures of high officials and celebrities from different countries, you will also be given a chance to taste two or three brandies from the Ararat range.
Not to get confused, the Yerevan Brandy Company is a huge building with orange stones and in front of it, on the other side of the street, there is another factory called Ararat Brandy-Wine-Vodka Factory. Armenia has the most brandy factories per capita of any country in the world. That is why, in the supermarkets you can find both the ordinary and aged brandies offered by different brands.
The most famous brand of cognac in Armenia since 1887 is Ararat. It is named after the biblical Mount Ararat, a national symbol of Armenia ,that dominates the skyline of Yerevan and is seen from all the corners of it. Ararat is produced by the Yerevan brandy company using the local white grapes, other fruits, nuts and spring water. It is considered to be a luxurious drink worldwide and costs much more abroad then in Armenia. That is the reason why those who visit this country never forget to grab at least a bottle before leaving. Behind this brand, there are several types of brandies. One of them is Ani, named after the capital of Armenia during the Bagratid dynasty that is now in the territory of Turkey. The bottles are filled with six years old cognac. Otborny is seven years old brandy Akhtamar is ten years olds, and it is named after the second largest island in the Lake Van, in the Turkish province of Van, that was the center of the Armenian kingdom of Vaspurakan before. The aged ones are Vaspurakan (15 years) and Nairi (20 years).
Another famous type of brandy of Ararat is called Dvin. They say that during the Yalta conference, in 1945, Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, was amazed by the taste of the Armenian cognac given to him by Joseph Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union from the 1920s until 1953, and he asked to send 400 bottles to him annually. Recalling this, already in 2013, the president of Russia - Vladimir Putin gave the Prime Minister of Britain - David Cameron (2010-2016), 1971 bottles of Armenian brandy.
I hope you will enjoy your trip to the museum of the world-known Armenian Cognac - Ararat. Armenian brandy will inspire you to explore more of Armenia.
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