Myth #10- Singani= High-Altitude Brandy & Peruvian Pisco= Low Altitude Brandy

This is the 10th in a series mythbusters to clarify misconceptions about Peruvian pisco!

pisco vs singani

While it’s true that signani is associated with high altitudes, Peruvian pisco can be produced at altitudes as high as 2,000 meters (6,562 feet).

 

We presented many differences between Peruvian pisco and singani in a past blog post. However, we wanted to elaborate on the subject of altitude. Singani is most often associated with high altitudes, as it must be produced at 5,250 feet or higher from grapes grown at those elevations. While that classification is well deserved for Bolivia’s clear brandy, it is important to note that Peruvian pisco is not necessarily a low altitude brandy.

Peruvian pisco is associated with lower altitudes, more specifically, coastal valleys. The D.O. in Perú requires that pisco be produced at 6,562 feet or lower from grapes grown at those elevations. Keep in mind that the concept of altitude is quite different in the Andean region. While Peruvians consider 6,562 feet to be fairly low, in the U.S., that is a relatively high elevation. For example, Denver, known as the “Mile High City”, has an elevation of 5,280 feet! There are Peruvian piscos made at altitudes higher than Denver in the D.O of Arequipa in the Caraveli Valley, which is located at 5,837 feet.

So the next time you hear the misconception that Peruvian pisco is a low altitude brandy, you can clarify. Yes, it can be made on the coast of Peru, but you will also find pisco vineyards and distilleries way high in the Andes mountains at 5,837, an altitude that is significantly higher than the famed “Mile High City”!

 

Las Diferencias Entre el Singani y el Pisco

Ambos singani y pisco son aguardientes transparentes hechos por un proceso de destilación de uvas. Por sus características físicas, parecen semejantes. Sin embargo, cuando examinas sus métodos de destilación, sus zonas de producción, sus procesos de reposo, clasificaciones de calidad u otros detalles, encontrarás que son licores muy distintos. Aquí hay las diferencias entre el Singani boliviano y el pisco peruano:

 

Pisco Peruano
Singani

Un aguardiente hecho de 1 o una mezcla de las 8 variedades de uva permitidas por la Denominación de Origen en Perú.

Un aguardiente hecho de la uva moscatel de Alejandría en Bolivia.

Reposa un mínimo de 3 meses en recipientes que no alteran el producto.

Reposa un mínimo de 6 meses en recipientes que no alteran el producto.

Se tiene que producir en una de las zonas geográficas designadas por la Denominación de Origen en Perú.

Se tiene que producir en una de las zonas geográficas designadas por la Denominación de Origen en Bolivia.

Se produce a menos de 2,000m (6,562 pies) de uvas cultivadas a esas alturas.

Se produce a más de 1,600m (5,250 pies) de uvas cultivadas a esas alturas.

Hay piscos de una variedad de uva (puros) y una mezcla de uvas (acholados).

Sólo hay Singani de una variedad de uva: moscatel de Alejandría. No se puede mezclar la moscatel de Alejandría con otras variedades.

Hay evidencia que la palabra “pisco” viene de “pishqu”, la palabra quechua para pájaro.

Hay evidencia que la palabra “singani” viene de “siwingani”, la palabra aymara para juncia.

Sólo se destila una vez.

En general se destila más de una vez y se le pone agua.

No tiene clasificación de calidad

Tiene clasificación de calidad

Singani de Altura

Singani

Singani de Primera

Singani de Segunda

El orujo nunca se destila en la producción de pisco.

El Singani de Primera and Singani de Segunda pueden ser producidos por la destilación de orujo, parecido a la producción de grappa.

*Chilcano*

  • Ginger ale o cerveza de jengibre
  • Limón
  • Pisco

*Chufly*

  • Ginger ale o cerveza de jengibre
  • Limón
  • Singani

 

 

Fuentes:

Armstrong, Darren. “Singani.” StrongSomm, www.strongsomm.com/singani.

“Singani.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 July 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singani.

Singani vs. Pisco

Singani and pisco are both clear grape brandies that share similar physical attributes. However, when you examine their distillation methods, geographical zones of production, resting techniques, quality classifications and other details, you will find that they are very different spirits. We have listed the differences between Bolivian Singani and Peruvian pisco in the chart below:

 

Peruvian Pisco
Singani

A brandy made from 1 or a blend of the 8 pisco grapes permitted by the D.O. in Peru.

A brandy made only from Muscat of Alexandria grapes in Bolivia.

Rests in neutral casks a minimum of 3 months.

Rests in neutral casks for a minimum of 6 months.

Must be made in one of the Pisco-producing regions as defined by the D.O. in Peru.

Must be made in one of the Singani-producing regions as defined by the D.O. in Bolivia.

Produced at 2,000m (6,562 feet) or lower from grapes grown at those elevations.

Produced at 1,600m (5,250 feet) or higher from grapes grown at those elevations.

Has both single-variety Piscos (puros) and blends (acholados).

Only single-variety Singanis are produced exclusively from the Muscat of Alexandria grape. No blending with other varieties is permitted.

Linguistic evidence suggests the word “pisco” comes from the native Quechua word “pishqu” (meaning bird).

Linguistic evidence suggests that the word “singani” comes from the native Aymara word “siwingani” (meaning sedge).

Only single distillation permitted.

Usually double distilled and watered down to proof.

No quality classification

Has quality classifications:

Singani de Altura

Singani

Singani de Primera

Singani de Segunda

Pomace may never be distilled in Pisco production.

Singani de Primera and Singani de Segunda may be made from the pomace leftovers from winemaking (similar to grappa)

*Chilcano Cocktail*

  • Ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Lime
  • Pisco

*Shoofly Cocktail*

  • Ginger ale or ginger beer
  • Lime
  • Singani

 

Download our Signani vs. Pisco chart here: Singani vs. Pisco

 

Sources:

Armstrong, Darren. “Singani.” StrongSomm, www.strongsomm.com/singani.

“Singani.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 July 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singani.

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