Armagnac, the best kept secret of your bar

The birth of #Armagnac comes from the encounter of three Cultures throughout history.

In ancient times, the Romans introduced vines in the south-west of France. A few centuries later, the Arabs bring the still, then it is the Celts who in turn develop the use of the barrel. The cultivation of vines in this privileged region dates back to Roman times. Witness the superb mosaics discovered at the Gallo-Roman Villa of Seviac; the most beautiful, with their volutes all in clusters, vines and leaves, evoke the grape harvest. Later, towards the end of the 6th century the Vascons invaded the country that will bear their name, which will become in 670 the first Duchy of Gascony. While bending over the name of Armagnac, historians have found traces of a knight, Herrman, companion of the fiery Clovis, to whom a fief has been given as a reward for his bravery. Latinized by the medieval capists, Herrman would have become “Arminius”, until the local language seizes it to moult it in Armagnac. In the Xth century, a small county bearing this glorious name is born in Gascony. Armagnac is the oldest French eau-de-vie. The first evidence of the existence of the “aqua ardens” produced in Gascony dates from 1310, when Master Vital Dufour (1260-1327), prior of Eauze and Saint Mont, erudite scholar and medicine lover, wrote “From Master Vital Dufour, Book very useful to maintain health and stay in good shape.” This book then enunciated the forty therapeutic virtues of an alcohol called Aygue Ardente, ancestor of Armagnac. In 1531, this manuscript is printed and has since been preserved in the Vatican Archives. It is the oldest evidence of the production and consumption of a brandy in France. In the course of wars and conquests, Armagnac evolves, exports and sets off to conquer the world.

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