Armagnac is produced in the temperate Mediterranean climate of the Gascony region in France, land of the legendary D'Artagnan. It is the oldest of the French brandies.
Armagnac was born from the vines brought to France by the Romans and distilled in alembics, a Moorish influence. In the 15th century Armagnac eau de vie was used for medicinal purposes, being used to combat plagues that emerged everywhere and at anytime. It was in the 17th century that this spirit started to be used as an alcoholic beverage.
Armagnac is distillated, exclusively, from the French grapes from the so called Gers Department. It can only be produced from one of three regions: Bas Armagnac (which produces the best Armagnac), Tenarèze and Haut Armagnac. Depending on the region where the spirit is produced it has different characteristics, the Bas Armagnac has a plum flavour, Tenarèze a violet aroma and Haut Armagnac needs more time to age (a lower quality eau de vie).
After the harvest season grapes are pressed and its juice ferments naturally without any kind of additives. That allows the spirit to preserve its particular aroma until the distillation. The liquid which results of this process is an acid wine, lower in alcohol (8 to 10%).
Traditionally the distillation is made in the harvest season till April of the following year.
The Armagnac production is made in a pot still known as "Armagnaçais" (see our our Armagnac Alembic Still, a continuous distilling system 75210).
Nowadays the spirit can be produced by a single or double distillation, but tradition demands a single distillation which imparts a sweeter taste to the Armagnac, contrasting with Cognac.
The final distillate is almost colourless with an alcoholic volume of about 52 to 72%.
When ready Armagnac is aged in oak casks made from dark Gascony oak wood. The ageing process takes 4 to 20 years.