Für mich die beste Messe: Das German Armagnac Festival 2024

For me the best fair: The German Armagnac Festival 2024

At a typical spirits fair it goes something like this:
The next morning: You may have drunk a little too much alcohol the day before. Anything but positive thoughts usually run through your head. Consumption at the trade fair is one thing, but things can escalate afterwards. The drinks in the city's bars flow all the more carelessly.
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But at the German Armagnac Festival everything is different. I get up on Sunday morning with a smile on my face. "It was awesome," I think to myself. While lying there I try to process everything that happened yesterday. Enjoy the moment of peace. What a great event.

The trade fair lasted one day: Saturday, April 13th, in Stuttgart. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Armagnac and Cognac at their finest. I begin at 11 a.m. sharp, after we've prepared everything the day before. Gregor, on behalf of our Wagemut Kavalierbar, is running the bar at the GAF with Armagnac cocktails that my team has developed especially for this event.

Gregor Eisele

A quick greeting of familiar faces, a kiss on the left and a kiss on the right, and then it's time for our first tasting: at 11:30 a.m. my brother Adrien and I are sitting in front of six glasses in a rarity tasting, presented by the crazy guys from Catawiki, Emilie and Nicolas. These guys are simply amazing. Now that's what I call a start to the day that suits my taste!

Nicolas from Catawiki

Adrien looks at me in amazement. It is slowly dawning on him how great Armagnac is, as he has previously only ever drunk rum and port wine.

Tasting No. 1.

An hour of input later, we climb the stairs again, only to be greeted at the door by Robert so that we can try his new series. He modestly launches a Garreau from 1967 in cooperation with Distilia - the first of the seven deadly sins in his "The Sins" series.

Robert with his deadly sin

On the way to Seailles I finally fall in love with Swell de Spirits. The likeable Mika with his great bottlings and the most beautiful designs. I quickly decide that I want his entire range and am briefly annoyed that I now have three years to catch up on. Shit. (So if anyone has any bottles that I don't have yet, please let me know. Especially the ones that were never released in Europe. I'll swap them for Smarties.)

Mika from Swell

Julien from Seailles frees me from my thoughts. It's not just because of his modest nature that he is my absolute favorite producer in the region. It's his stuff that I'm so enthusiastic about. For me, it's the best value for money in the entire spirits world and the best Blanche - unaged Armagnac. With his permission, I start pouring other visitors his great stuff. My general recommendation for lovers of old, strong rum styles like Caroni & Co.

Julien de Seailles

I try a lot, but at the same time not enough. I try to avoid Wolfgang, because as soon as he opens his suitcase, I'm hooked. I want to try other producers and their products first. I don't have enough time. The fair is small, but there is such a density of high-quality products and exhibitors that I don't have nearly enough time.

In love with Hontambere, impressed by Malternatives and enthusiastic about Danis, I sit outside in the sun in mild 25 degrees. I take a small sip of Slashi - a frozen mixture of Castarede XO, salted caramel, passion fruit and lemon. The cold cools my irritated palate. The sweetness calms my nerves. Pleasant. As Florence Castarede, the owner of Castarede, told me afterwards:
„J’ai été très heureuse de vous revoir et encore Bravo pour ce délicieux cocktail préparé par votre mixologiste ..Sincèrement je n'ai jamais gouté un cocktail aussi bon avec notre Armagnac!“

In English: Great drink!
I think so too. My boys did a good job!

Florence Castarede & I

Suddenly he is there: Wolfgang Klotz with his mysterious suitcase. One amazing bottle after another is placed on the table.
The vintages are flying around. Each one older and greater than the last. These bottles that are more than 100 years old enchant me. The decades that they are allowed to spend in the bottle do something very special to the alcohol. The aromas flow into one another and truly become one. A harmony and depth that is unparalleled and that "unfortunately" only comes about through decades of bottle aging.
Even my brother, who is usually so quiet, is now really getting into it. He describes every drop with enthusiasm, only to say after each glass how great Armagnac is. And that he has an expensive palate... We're all a bit spoiled when it comes to sensory perception in our team... And yet Armagnac has such a great price-pleasure ratio.

At some point I'm exhausted. Mentally and sensorially too. The fair is also over. I light a cigar and, fittingly, open a 2.5L bottle of 1895 that Wolfgang donated in his generosity.

A worthy conclusion to my absolute favorite trade fair! Thanks to Sascha Junkert and his team for what a great job he has done again! I'll definitely be back next year - an absolute must, I think to myself, as I decide to only drink bottles of 2.5L or more from now on.

P.s.: the tickets for 2025 are already available here.

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