The second-most famous brandy in the world is produced in the southwest corner of France. Armagnac is made in special stills having three boilers, one on top of the other. Each boiler contains wine. When the bottom boiler reaches the proper temperature, the vapors pass through the wine in the second boiler. This may be one of the reasons for Armagnac’s special flavor. The vapors in turn heat the second boiler. When the proper temperature is reached the wine in the second boiler vaporizes and passes through the third boiler where the entire operation is repeated. Lastly the vapors then pass through a fractionating column to a condenser. Armagnac is made in a single distillation and aged in native oak barrels which impart their own special characteristics to the finished brandy. There are a variety of “types” of Armagnac including Three Star (aged 5 years), VSOP (aged 20 years) and Extra (aged 40 years).
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