The Spirit of Armagnac
If brandy is the most inherently complex spirit on earth, then Armagnac is its ne plus ultra.
In fact, you could say that Armagnac is the last truly craft spirit known to man—the elegant, alchemical product of alembic stills which were patented and perfected in 1818.
The heir of more than 700 years of tradition, Armagnac’s first mention in the historical record dates to 1310, when Prior Vital Dufour extolled the brandy’s many virtues—namely that it “enlivens the spirit,” “recalls the past to memory,” “renders men joyous, and “preserves youth and delays senility.”
But Armagnac is more than a spirit: it is a storybook region within Gascony known for its culinary legacy, classically agrarian way of life, and nearly iconoclastic personality.
Here, producers grow and vinify their base wine from key white grapes Ugni Blanc, Baco, and Colombard; the following harvest, roving distillers visit with their wood-fired alembics hitched to the back of tractors to practice their art in the barns of their hosts.