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The Game of Shakmat

Shakmat (or shakhmat) is the Armenian word for chess. But our Shakmat is so much more than a game. It is a symbol. A symbol of life, persistence, patience, and wisdom of a people that do not fall, even when held in check.

Shakmat 23 Year Old is a premium brandy originating from the birthplace of winemaking. It is an embodiment of Armenia’s two national treasures – Chess and Konyak.

The time has come for Armenian brandy to reclaim its rightful place on the World Spirits map. A hidden gem of flavor and tradition, its recognition is long overdue.

The making of Shakmat

“The Flaviar crew and I went to Armenia, my paternal homeland, to find the right flavors for our new brandy, Shakmat.”
— Alexis Ohanian,
Reddit & Initialized Capital co-founder
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Shakmat in three moves

Every decision we made, from the selection of grape varieties, distillation techniques, distillates and the final blend, was to ensure Shakmat is a refined, extraordinary spirit which preserves the DNA of an authentic Armenian brandy.

Creating Shakmat required a lot of planning, a few sacrifices and just like in a passionate chess game, some strategic moves. We made the right ones at the right time and now we’re inviting YOU to be the judge of the gameplay.

— Grisa & Jugo,
Flaviar founders

The opening

Armenia has excellent conditions for the production of a brandy’s most important ingredient: grapes. The local brandy only utilizes indigenous grape varieties and there are over 200 grown there. For Shakmat, we used the following grape varieties: Kangun, Kakhet, Garan Dmak and Rkatsiteli.

The tactics

Shakmat is a 23 Year Old Brandy, aged in barrels made of local Caucasian oak. The terroir (both for grapes and oak barrels) is what gives it its distinctive flavor profile.


Shakmat offers an abundance of exciting flavors including dried fruits (plums, raisins), walnuts, cloves, tobacco, molasses, vanilla, oak, and a bit of black pepper. It takes a well-known and loved flavor profile and elevates it.

Batch 02
Country Armenia
Kangun, Kakhet, Garan Dmak and Rkatsiteli
Cask type Caucasian Oak
No. of bottles 3500
Age 23 years
Alcohol 40%
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History of Armenian brandy & beyond

The Yalta Conference

The grand moment of Armenian Brandy

The first time that Armenian brandy really came into the spotlight was at the Yalta Conference in 1945, where where Sir Winston Churchill—Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was offered it after dinner. He was so impressed that he requested to have cases shipped to him regularly. Churchill was a big fan of Armenian Brandy. By his own admission, he had drunk enough brandy to fill three railway carriages.

Konyak VS. Cognac

What makes all the difference?

For a grape brandy to be labelled Cognac, it must be made in the Cognac region. Taking advantage of its popularity in Russia during the late 19th century, Armenian brandy was also labelled Konyak (the Armenian spelling of Cognac). For a brief time, one Armenian producer, Nikolay Shustov, did have the right to label it Cognac (this was after winning the Grand Prix Award in Paris, in 1900).

Armenia and Chess

Chess is Armenia’s national treasure

Armenia has two national treasures: Konyak and Chess. Chess lessons are part of the curriculum in every public school there, making it the first country in the world to make chess mandatory in schools. It is home to 30 grandmasters and three players in the top 100, only one less than the United States.

Caucasian Oak

The flavor gambit

The Caucasian oak is a tree of up to 30 m that is typically found in the highlands of the Caucasus and Northern Iran at altitudes of up to 8.000 ft (2,500 m). Barrels made from the local Caucasian oak are used in brandy production throughout Armenia and it’s those barrels that impart flavors of dried fruit, dried herbs, as well as vanilla and chocolate notes into the brandy.

Charity: Armenia tree project

Armenia was heavily deforested during the Soviet years and immediately after, throughout cold winters and economic hardship—leaving the country with less than 10% tree cover.

We're partnering with the Armenia Tree Project to help reforest the country with every bottle of Shakmat we sell.

The Armenia Tree Project has already planted and restored over 5,500,000 trees, creating hundreds of jobs for Armenians through seasonal tree-related programs.

A portion of the proceeds from every sale will be donated to help this Armenian reforestation project continue.

After all, local caucasian oak barrels are used to age Shakmat and are essential in its production -- just one more reason to support this cause.

I’m proud of Shakmat. But I’m even more proud that this will be yours and many people’s first taste of Armenia. And it won’t be your last. — Alexis Ohanian,
Reddit & Initialized
Capital co-founder

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