Although the famous French brandy is several centuries older than cognac, it is somewhat overshadowed by its "big brother". Its home is Gascony, a hilly landscape in the centre of south-west France. It includes the Département Gers as well as parts of Landes and Lot-et-Garonne. The Gasconians learned the art of distillation from the Moors as early as the 12th century. The first written account of the armagnac (aqua ardens = burning water) dates from 1411, and a document from 1461 states that "the distilled spirit of wine relieves pain, keeps memory fresh and people young, and brings joy and well-being". In 1909, the "Armagnac" designation of origin was decreed for the first time. The BNIA (Bureau National Interprofessionel de l'Armagnac) monitors the strict regulations. If the test is passed, the golden yellow seal is awarded.