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Ararat

When “From the very deep of the heart” is not the figure of speech

Very often, we don’t pay proper attention to the things that are close by. We will never plan a visit by our own to a museum in our home country and enjoy it when we have enough time, enough options and enough possibilities. Why we should always hurry to visit a museum? The recent example. Crossing over the Victory Bridge in Yerevan in the hard day’s evening and I caught myself that I had never visited the Yerevan Brandy Company’s museum, one of the most visited tourist attractions in Armenia. After all, it is better late than never, right? The hour that I spent there was an hour of Revelations that what it was.

Text : Artavazd yeghiazaryan

 

The history of the ARARAT is quite well known among Armenians because it is also an important part of Armenian history and Armenian identity. But here is where the very illusion of knowledge keeps us away from the real expanding of our curiosity. Let’s say that you always knew that wooden barrels are very important for brandy making, but did you know that these barrels are all handmade by skillful masters, and then are commissioned for eighty years, and after that are used as part of the fire for the preparation of new barrels? You can see all of this at the ARARAT Museum’s interactive booth, where even the 3D reincarnation of a cooper is in line with the work safety standards.
These barrels are waiting for the purest part of the spirit to be filled in. In fact only the middle part of the second distillation which is poetically called “heart” goes for ageing. Thus, when ARARAT says from “Heart to Heart”, it is not a figure of speech.
Another thing: you might have heard that while in the barrels, the spirit of the brandy evaporates, losing about 3 per cent from each barrel. It’s called the “angels’ share”. And as Yerevan Brandy Company’s museum is located in the Ageing Cellar, during the tour we felt like… angels! At least we understood why the Angels are always smiling on the paintings. Here is also the very place where you can meet with the around 30 different presidential barrels. As we have been told there is a tradition during high rank visits of the Head of States a Special Barrel is offered to them.
The second part of the tour is dedicated to the ARARAT’s history, starting from the founding by the Tairyants brothers, and then on to the acquisition of the company by Russian businessman Shustov who was known for his skillful promotion campaign that brought Armenian brandy to the Russian Tsar’s court and gained a reputation at numerous expos and fairs. The latest medal is the Gold one received a year ago in the prestigious San Francisco Wine and Spirits Competition. Probably the finest stand in the hall – the bottles of Armenian brandy, which show the evolution of ARARAT bottles. I am not going to stop on each of them, nor on all of them in this story – just not to spoil. They definitely deserve to be seen closely.
Fortunately, by the end of the tour, as thousands of tourists do each year, we had the opportunity to taste some of the great ARARAT brandies: Akhtamar, Nairi and Dvin. By the way did you know, that to warm the brandy up easier one should hold the glass in the left hand as it is closer to the heart?
Leaving the Museum I had just one thought – the true Museum is the one that provokes you to come again. I will come again. Not only for another tour, but maybe also to attend a mysterious event “ARARAT Speakers Night” the banner of which I saw right before the building of Yerevan Brandy Company.