Ararat is the most famous Armenian brandy and perhaps the most famous alcohol producer in the entire Caucasus region. Ararat is made using traditional methods, the same ones used to make cognac in France. The grapes are pressed using the same methods as when making sparkling wine. Fermented wine is distilled twice with a pot still and aged in Armenian oak barrels. Ararat Ani is a blend of distillates that have matured for an average of six years. Ararat is nowadays owned by the French company Pernod Ricard. Ani 6YO in a 50 cl bottle cost €15.99.
Ararat Ani is a clean-lined and well balanced brandy. The smell and taste have fruitiness and a little aroma from the wood of the oak barrel. The taste is dry, clearly drier than brandies in general. It probably doesn’t have grape juice, sugar or other softeners added to it, which are very common in inexpensive brandies. Not any typical aroma of raisin and leathery there either.
The taste is a bit sharp and not as mature as one might expect from a 6-year-old , VSOP class brandy. Armenian oak is probably so dense that several years of maturation have not yet had time to modify the distillate too much. Ani feels that it is a quality product that would improve even more as it ages. Now it’s still a bit raw, but it already beats most cognacs and brandies in the same price category.