The famous Armenian brandy is not just Ararat, there are many top producers in the country. Among the premium brands is also Noy. It is named after Noah, as Armenia is traditionally considered the resting place of Noah’s Ark. According to legend, it was on Mount Ararat that he planted the first grapevine, marking the beginning of winemaking in the country.
You can visit the Noy brandy cellars and museum in Yerevan as part of guided tours, which are also available in English. You can choose one of three options:
- 5,000 AMD (approx. 12 EUR) for a tour and tasting of one fortified collector’s wine and two types of brandy (5 and 10 years old)
- 15,000 AMD (approx. 36 EUR) for a tour and tasting of two fortified collector’s wines and two types of brandy (10 and 20 years old)
- 3,500 AMD (approx. 8.40 EUR) for a tour without tasting
The YEREVAN ARARAT BRANDY-WINE-VODKA FACTORY is located on the site of the former historical fortress of Erivan on the outskirts of Yerevan. The fortress was built in 591. In 1865, Nerses Tairyan bought the land and established a small wine factory there. Tairyan later expanded the production to brandy thanks to the experience of his cousin Vasilije Tairov, a pioneer of Russian winemaking. He studied this field directly in France.
In 1892, the factory was modernized with French equipment with the help of Mkrtich Mussinyant, a top brandy expert and a graduate from the French Montpellier. The factory already had specialized departments for brandy aging. However, due to sales problems, Tairyan rented out the factory and then sold it in 1898 to the company “N. L. Shustov and sons”. This company controlled up to 80% of the Russian alcohol market at that time.
The factory invested heavily and showcased its “Fine Champagne” brandy, made using Mussinyant’s technology, at a French exhibition. Thanks to winning the “Grand Prix” competition, this brandy could exceptionally be labeled as “cognac”. The company implemented smart marketing, sending young people to restaurants to order cognac. This helped increase brand awareness. In 1912, the company became the official supplier to the Russian court due to its high-quality products.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the factory deteriorated until 2002. It was then bought by Armenian billionaire Gagik Tsarukyan. He initiated extensive reconstruction and renovation work and revived the factory and its historical recipes.
The guided tour starts in the newly renovated museum, where objects from the history of wine and brandy production are displayed. Of course, there is also an overview of the most famous spirits.
From the museum, visitors move to the much more interesting underground cellars. Here, the first tasting of fortified collector’s wines takes place.
I chose the tasting option for 15,000 AMD, so I tasted fortified wines (Port-style wine) from 1913 and 1924.
Last year, I tasted many Port wines directly in the Portuguese Porto, so it was an interesting comparison. However, I would still prefer the real port wine.
The tasting of two types of brandy takes place at the very end of the tour.
What’s nice is the large amount of fresh and dried fruit that each tour participant has at their disposal. Bottled water is also available.
The tour associated with Noy brandy is significantly different from the Ararat brandy tour. I attended both on the same day, so I can compare them. At Ararat, you can notice the strong influence of the Western owner. The museum is very modern, with lots of interactive elements and interesting information. On the other hand, the Noy tour is conducted in a more “old-fashioned” manner. If I were to visit Noy again, I would probably choose the cheaper tasting option. However, I find both tours interesting and am glad I got to experience both.
Enjoy Noy brandy and drink responsibly!
More information can be obtained by clicking on the map link: