WHO WE ARE
Telling the St Agnes Story
Ninety years. Five generations. Five master distillers. Three ‘Best In World’ trophies. Just one St Agnes. Handcrafted since 1925.
In a world that moves too fast and demands too much too soon, we celebrate the patient rewards of time and craft. In a world that craves perfection and global uniformity, we celebrate the authenticity of character, provenance and uniqueness. XO by St Agnes.
Our purpose is clear. To do one thing brilliantly. To show the world another face of Australian produce excellence. To create an Australian spirit of iconic world standard. To craft a uniquely Australian expression of brandy.
Our method is simple. Time. Because great brandy takes time. By honing our craft around the patient rewards of time…both how we distill our eau de vie that will stand the test of time… and how we carefully age our brandy so it develops the character of time……we have created something unique in Australian craft spirits.
Dr William Angove established a distillery in Renmark in 1910. His plan was to make a plain spirit for fortifying wine. In 1925, William’s son Carl decided to create a new style of Australian brandy that was lighter and more delicate than anything previously produced. That same year, Carl travelled to Cognac to learn from the world’s best. His journey became our journey. His passion to do one thing brilliantly became our passion. His ambition to show the world another face of Australian produce excellence became our ambition. His ultimate purpose to create an Australian spirit of iconic world standard and a uniquely Australian expression of brandy became our purpose. Every year since 1925, the St Agnes Distillery and Barrels Halls have been carefully and characterfully handcrafting brandy that is a testament to the rewards of time, age, ambition and craft.
Making St Agnes brandy is a craft that relies on experience and patience, time and age. Over 90 years, just five Master Distillers have been learning that craft. Meanwhile our St Agnes Distillery & Barrel Halls have been distilling, ageing and handcrafting since 1925.
St Agnes brandy always begins as it all began, in the vineyard. The Angove Family has been growing grapes and making wine in South Australia for five generations. The rich, red loam soils over ancient limestone of South Australia’s Riverland region help us produce grapes ideal for making world-class yet uniquely Australian brandy. Handcrafted every distillation. Our grapes are fermented in tank before distillation, which takes place over just three months of the year, usually beginning during the early days of vintage in February. All St Agnes brandies are double distilled, using our heritage copper pot stills made by H. Jennings of Adelaide. Every distillation benefits from the same care and craft. The speed at which the eau de vie leaves the still is careful monitored by eye to ensure it is moving slowly enough. Even this early in the process, time and patience is critical. So every brandy we make, from our youngest to our oldest, is batch distilled in a copper pot still. And from day one, every brandy we make is differently distilled with its eventual age in mind. The eau de vie we distill for XO St Agnes is far heavier and more complex than the eau de vie that becomes VS or VSOP St Agnes brandy, lending itself to extended ageing and developing in small wood.
Handcrafted every barrel. All St Agnes brandies are patiently aged in small oak barrels in our historic cellars. Our barrels are a mixture of seasoned French and American oak, old and new. This diversity of oaks gives us the maximum blending options when the time comes to move the brandy from barrel to bottle. St Agnes brandies are distinguished by the amount of time they spend in wood. Their eventual age is determined by their time spent ageing (a process that stops the second the brandy leaves the wood and enters a glass bottle). The barrels are cared for each year, with the angel taking her share (through evaporation of the high proof spirit) and the master distiller checking, refilling and restacking the barrels often.
Every year, the Angel takes her share and our Master Distiller crafts his blend. Almost a century of wisdom and artisan skill shines through as he judges the perfect age and blend of each brandy we bottle and release. The character of time is revealed in a balance of smoothness, depth and complexity.
Brandy is old. It is age, time and character in a bottle. So while each bottle of St Agnes brandy carries our signature balance of smoothness and complexity, each blend of St Agnes is also unique. The older the blend, the greater the character and uniqueness becomes. So while our VS and our VSOP brandies will vary very little from year to year, our oldest XO will see fascinating variations over time. Each year, for example, St Agnes will release just 500 bottles of our 40-year-old XO.
Each year that XO will change, evolve, grow and develop. Because our barrels are alive, our brandy is ageing, and our blends are never the same. Characterful, distinctive and elegant. Just as true craft and luxury should be.
It takes time. And you can taste the time. The slowness with which the heart of the eau de vie flows from our copper stills. The age, colour and character the brandy draws from the French and American oak of our barrels. The stories and flavours of our clean South Australian air as it pushes into the barrels, driving the slow process of ageing, softening and deepening. The time you take to earn the right to give yourself the ultimate reward for your patience and effort. The time to pour and savour that first sip. The times and the brandy you share with the people who matter.
Nothing represents the patient rewards of time and the careful mastery of craft like brandy.
Every bottle of St Agnes VS, VSOP or XO pays tribute to a story of time and effort. Every bottle should be considered a gift, even to oneself.
Armagnac, Brandy, Cognac…the ABC of aged Eau de Vie. Only brandies from the Armagnac and Cognac regions of France are sold under the unique names of their appellations. Brandies made elsewhere in the world are more plainly named, but no less characterful, especially in the case of St Agnes.
All brandies reserve the same naming protocols for their oldest, rarest and finest brandies…XO. But few producers anywhere in the world can boast an XO as old and as rare as our St. Agnes XO Grand Reserve 40 Year Old.