Armagnac (FR. argue ardente – “water of life”) is an alcoholic drink with a strength of about 55-65. flavor and specific qualities to be very close to cognac.
The production place is the South-Eastern part of France in the province of Gascony. The origin of this beverage is almost 100 years older than cognac. For the first time, we found the mention in the 15th century. The production of Armagnac is very similar to the technology of the production of cognac. Differences exist only in the process of distillation.
Production technology consists of several stages:
Stage 1: Collection of grapes. For the manufacture of Armagnac, it is only possible to use ten varieties of grape: cleret de Gascogne, zhyuranson Blanc, Leslie Saint-Francois, plan de Grez, Ugni Blanc, Baco 22A, Colombard, Folle Blanche, etc. the Final maturation of the grapes takes place in October, and that’s when collection starts. Then they crush each variety separately and leave for natural fermentation.
Stage 2: Process of distillation. International standards strictly regulate this step. It may not start earlier than 1 September or later than 30 April. In Gascony, distillation traditionally begins in November.
Step 3: Extract. The finished beverage is poured into fresh casks of black oak 250 liters, which gives the maximum volume of tannins from the wood. Then they pour the Armagnac in older barrels stored in the cellars on the ground floor. The maximum period of drink aging is 40 years.
After aging the Armagnac, they pour it into a glass bottle, and the infusion process stops. The acquired color and aroma perfectly preserves. Not every drink, like brandy, can be called Armagnac. There are four criteria that the product must meet: a place of manufacture – Armagnac; the beverage base must be the wine from local grapes; the distillation must be carried out by double or continuous distillation; compliance and quality standards.
Depending on the aging period, the bottles of Armagnac get the appropriate marking. Letters are denoted by VS Armagnac extract, which is not less than 1.5 years; VO/VSOP – not less than 4.5 years; Extra/XO/Vieille Reserve – at least 5.5 years. You can buy this drink in more than 132 countries globally, but main markets are invariably Spain, UK, Germany, Japan, and the United States.
Armagnac as a therapeutic agent. In 1411 people thought that it has forty medicinal properties and helps sharpen the senses, improve memory, energize the body, and maintain youthfulness. In this case, you needed to use it in small doses as a digestif.
Armagnac contains a large amount of wood tannin. This substance protects the body from free radicals and promotes liquefaction of the blood, preventing blood clots in blood vessels.
Armagnac also has good antiseptic and healing properties. When applied externally, it’s best for skin ulcers, sinuses, and open wounds. Pain in the ears can fight the Armagnac instilled in the ears 3-5 drops. It relieves inflammation and warms the organs in the front of the ear.
Medicinal properties of the Armagnac are good against colds. Drink it with tea and honey with a strong cough. When fighting the pain in the throat – drink in small SIPS, 30 g of Armagnac, a little delaying in the mouth. Thus, the drink completely coats the throat and soothes the sensation on the mucosa.
In case of Joint pain – take a compress of Armagnac. This requires a gauze moisten with Armagnac. Cover with polythene and warm cloth. This compress you should keep for 30 minutes, after which the application process is covered with oily cream. You should repeat this procedure at least five times a week.
In case of Ulcerative diseases of the stomach and duodenum – use the Armagnac in small doses. It promotes the healing process, reduces acidity, and reduces pain.
The dangers of Armagnac and contraindications
Excessive consumption of Armagnac can cause alcohol dependence, lead to a disruption of the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas. Also not recommended to drink Armagnac at any stage of cancer and acute diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Do not drink Armagnac if you are suffering from hypertension with a severe cardiovascular system, pregnant and lactating women and children.
Useful and dangerous properties of other beverages: