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What is Pisco

Glass of PiscoPisco is a magical distillate because it provides an infinite range of aroma, flavors, and delicious sensations. There exist many forms of Pisco--pure, acholados, and green musts--all are deliciously seductive and each has its own personality. Eight different grapes are used to prepare Pisco: Quebranta, Negra Criolla, Mollar, Uvina, Italia, Moscatel, Torontel and Albilla. Although pisco has a high alcohol content (ranging from 60 to 100 proof), it tastes very smooth and many people enjoy sipping it straight as well as mixed cocktails, various recipes and desserts.

As in a Chardonnay wine, which is very different from a Malbec, in Pisco we have Quebranta, which is very different from the Torontel or Moscatel. In recent years a new type of Pisco has been manufactured called acholado green wine, a blend of Pisco green must of different grapes. Pisco's complexity, and its organoleptic characteristics will depend on the grapes that make them up. Importantly, the aromas and flavors mentioned are referential as each Pisco will have its own personality, depending on the region, climate, soil type and obviously producer. Therefore, we never find two identical Piscos.

Three types of Piscos: Puro, Acholado, and Mosto Verde.
  • Puro (Pure) - made from a single variety of grape, mostly Quebranta, although Mollar or Common Black can be used; however, no blending between varieties is accepted ("pure" pisco should contain only one variety of grape).
  • Acholado (Mixed) - Are those  made by blending two or more Pisco grapes.
  • Mosto Verde (Green Must) -  distilled from partially fermented grape must, this must be distilled before the fermentation process has completely transformed sugars into alcohol.  Mosto Verdes are made with only one of the eight types of Pisco grapes.  Therefore, their aroma and taste, which are more intense than Pures and Acholados, will depend on the grape it was made with.  Mosto Verde's use twice the number of grapes it takes to make a Pure or Acholado.  This is why it tends to be more exclusive.

Happy WomenWe often hear reference to Pisco as "liquor Peruvian flag." This statement is incorrect!  This is because is not a liquor; Pisco is a spirit, such as whiskey, rum, tequila, vodka or gin. A liqueur is a distilled liquor or flavored with fruits or herbs, which are added elements such as sugar, milk or other like coffee or chocolate, for example. Usually it has colors and usually sweet, and also alcohol content is varied. As we know, Pisco does not have added fruits, herbs and much less sugar; moreover, it is completely clear, colorless and bright.