By Sacha Delfosse

Fourth generation Armagnac producer, Jerome Delord, recently hosted a range of master classes, organised by Cerbaco, to give local bartenders some background and insights into the oldest of French brandies.

Armagnac is a rustic and rural area in the south of France, surrounded by forests and hills, which is divided into three different regions- Haut-Armagnac, Tenareze and Bas-Armagnac, with the Delord family’s distillery located in the later section.

As part of the master class, guests were invited to taste four different Armagnac’s made by the Delord family: Bas Armagnac Delord Recolte 1985, Hors d’Age, Recolte 1979 and Blanche Armagnac.

Jerome Delord, with Cerbaco owner, Gabriel Chaise

Unlike Cognac, which is double distilled, Armagnac undergoes a single distillation, in gas fired stills continuously over five weeks, and is then aged in French oak barrels.

It is distilled from a variety of white wines that the family produces themselves, although additional wine is purchased when needed.

“Everything is done by the family, we do our own wine and we buy wine as well. We had 11-12 hectares of vineyard, now we have 30 and we plan to have 40 to 50 to stop having to buy the wine to better control the quality,” Delord said.

“In fact Armagnac is something that is in your body and your blood. You don’t do Armagnac if you don’t like it … to buy, to bottle and to sell is not the job, we like to see the grapes, we like to taste the grapes.”

The distilling operation is 'not like an industry company' Delord proudly explained, with everything manually operated and hand crafted, with the company selling just less than 200,000 bottles annually.

Armagnac was originally used as a form of medicine and its only in the last 100 years or so that it has begun being consumed as a drink, Delord said.

Although traditionally enjoyed as a digestif after dinner, with cheese or dessert, in past few years the company has seen it used well in many overseas cocktails.

Despite the old saying that the French created Cognac to export and Armagnac to enjoy themselves, Delord explained that his great grandfather founded the distillery with the aim of producing Armagnac that every body could enjoy, both in its taste and its price range.

“Delord is easy to drink. An Armagnac we think everyone can have. We don’t want to be the best, just the favourite,” Delord said.

Click on the video below for a short interview with Delord

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The Shout Team

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