Brandy Gran Duque de Alba was first launched in 1945. Documents in the possession of the Medina family, current owners of Bodegas Williams & Humbert, describe how the bodega’s wine merchant in Madrid at that time was a great friend of the Seventh Duke of Alba, Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Falcó (father of the current Duchess of Alba), and prior to the launch of an exclusive brandy asked if he could baptize it with his name. After tasting it the aristocrat was pleasantly impressed and suggested that for such a noble product it would be far more appropriate to use the name of his ancestor the Great Duke of Alba, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, who had ennobled the House of Alba and was an important historic figure. This appears in a written document which authorizes the brandy to use the name.
In 1973 a strong international campaign was launched in which numerous international visits were made to promote the brand. In addition one of the leading ceramic designers of the 20th Century, an artist of great international prestige, Antoni Cumella, was asked to design a new bottle and top.