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Brandy

Armenians have kept the record of their brandy since the times of Noah, when the biblical patriarch planted the first vineyard at the foothills of Mount Ararat. The memory about the forefather of the blessed drink is still alive. The modern history of Armenian brandy started in 1887, when the first guild merchant Nikolai Tairov (Tairian) built the first brandy factory in the Russian Empire in the place of the ancient Erivan fortress. The new production lasted until 1899. Nikolai Tairov was unable to settle marketing issues and sold the business to the Russian manufacturer Nikolai Shustov.After 1917 revolution Shustov’s business was nationalized. His name got lost among thousands of other names and destinies forgotten during 1920′s. Nevertheless, one mention of the Russian manufacturer’s name survived: it was in 1945 when a special 50 degree cognac “Dvin” was produced in Armenia for the Yalta Conference. Sir Winston Churchill asked J. Stalin for a batch of cognac. With a thoughtful look, Stalin answered: “The Soviet Union has full supply of Armenian cognac, so it may as well be sold”. Since then the periodic delivery of “Dvin” to the British Prime Minister had been controlled by the “Father of Nations” personally. The legal delivery to England continued until the beginning of the cold war. Afterwards, the Russians refused to supply Churchill with that dainty. However, Churchill’s passion for cognac turned out to be stronger than his political ambitions. Only God knows how he continued receiving his favorite drink. And when aged Churchill was asked about the secret of his longevity, he answered without hesitation: “Never be late for dinner, smoke Hawaiian cigars and drink Armenian cognac!”

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