The influx of Japanese immigrants to Peru at the end of the 19th century greatly enhanced Peruvian cuisine through the development of Nikkei, the fusion of Peruvian and Japanese food. New ingredients such as ginger, soy, wasabi and raw fish and seafood slowly assimilated into Peruvian cuisine, eventually creating delectable dishes such as tiradito, pulpo al olivo and acevichado sushi.
In her Mai Nikkei Tai, Kami twisted the traditional Mai Tai recipe to nod to this culinary movement. A touch of ginger represents the Nikkei and Quebranta pisco replaces rum, embodying a truly Peruvian cocktail. The result is a delicious blend of Japanese and Peruvian flavors.
Artisanal production. Estate grown in Azpitia. Terroir driven.
Our vineyards are located on the northern precipice of the lush Mala River Valley, a short distance from where the Mala River meets the Pacific Ocean. This proximity to the sea means the grapes are nourished year-round by a certain level of salinity, adding to their complexity. Our Pisco Quebranta has aromas of grass, herbs, and sweet caramelized banana with hints of toasted almonds, pecans and tart green apples.
GRAPE USED: 100% estate-grown Quebranta
PROCESSING: Grapes are harvested from estate vineyards, first pressed traditionally by foot, then with an automated press without the seeds.
FERMENTATION: The freshly pressed grape juice drops directly into a cement well where the wild fermentation begins. Contact with the grape skins (approximately 24 hours) and vintage yeast strains jump-start fermentation. Once active, fermentation completes its cycle in neutral vats.
STILL TYPE: Copper Pot Still
STILL SIZE: 300 Liters; direct flame heated
DISTILLER: Nati Gordillo
DISTILLATION: Single (Peruvian Pisco must be distilled to proof)
In Peru, the eight grapes used in pisco production are separated into 2 categories: aromatic and non-aromatic. While the latter categorization might imply that some piscos lack aromas, we would like to clarify that all varieties of Peruvian pisco are highly aromatic. This is due to the production methods required by the Denomination of Origin in Peru. First, Peruvian pisco is distilled one time, which helps bring out the unique aromatic profile of each grape variety. Then it is aged in neutral casks, which enhances the aromas while preserving the original identity of the clear spirit.
In this post, we will list the flavors and aromas of each grape variety used in the production of Peruvian pisco: Quebranta, Negra Criolla, Uvina & Mollar (non-aromatic) and Italia, Torontel, Moscatel, and Albilla (aromatic).
Note: These are general tasting notes, as every pisco is different, depending on the region, the terroir of the vineyards and the methods of the distiller.
Origin: The Quebranta grape is a cross between Negra Criolla and Mollar grapes. It is the most common grape used in pisco production in Peru.
Pisco flavors: Lime, mandarin, flowers, orange blossom & tropical fruit
Origin: Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. AKA Torrontés.
Pisco aromas: Flowers such as geranium, jasmine and magnolia, citrus, orange blossom & tropical fruit
Pisco flavors: Citrus, honey, tropical fruit & toffee
Origin: There is dispute about the origins of Peruvian Moscatel grapes. One theory is that it comes from the Muscat Rose à Petits Grains grape (Jiménez). This muscat grape is not to be confused with Italia, even though they are from the same family.
El pisco peruano es un aguardiente de uvas que se destila una vez y reposa un mínimo de 3 meses.
La uva quebranta es una de las variedades de uvas pisqueras que se usa para hacer pisco, igual que el cabernet sauvignon y chardonnay son tipos de uva para vino. En Perú, hay ocho variedades de uvas pisqueras: quebranta, negra criolla, mollar y uvina (no-aromáticas) e italia, torontel, moscatel y albilla (aromáticas).
El pisco acholado se hace mezclando un mínimo de dos de las distintas variedades de pisco o dos variedades de uvas antes mencionadas. Nuestra destiladora, Nati hace una mixtura perfecta de uvas quebranta e italia para crear un acholado que se puede usar en cócteles o para tomar solo.
Aquí hay una comparación de los dos:
Aromas: Pecanas y azahar
Sabores: Grosella madura y seca, plátano
Maridaje recomendado: Chocolate semi-dulce
2 onzas PiscoLogía Acholado
1 onza jarabe de piña
1 onza limón
.5 onza licor Benedictine
Clara de huevo
Nuez moscada (guarnición)
Sirve en las rocas
Aromas: Herbáceo, plátano dulce caramelizado
Sabores: Almendras tostadas, plátano, pecanas y manzanas verdes ácidas
This is part 1 of a series of interviews with Fernando Gonzales-Lattini, a sommelier specialized in pisco, vigneron and producer of premium wine in the Peruvian Andes.
How do you taste pisco and train
“To properly taste a pisco, you need a pisco snifter, like the photo shown above. In a tasting, a sommelier always evaluates 3 aspects: appearance, aroma and flavor. First, take a look at how the pisco looks. A good pisco must be clear and dense. Swirl the pisco around in the snifter to test its viscosity. A viscid pisco will form thick legs on the side of the glass. This is an indication that the pisco is full-bodied and has a good ratio of alcohol/glycerol. Transparency is also very important. Hold the glass up to the light to observe its color. Peruvian pisco is clear when it runs off the still, nothing is added to it, and it isn’t aged in barrels. For those reasons, it should be as clear as water in the bottle.
To detect aromas, I always recommend that people waft toward their noses instead of smelling directly from the snifter. If you inhale too closely, you can overwhelm your sense of smell, making it impossible to distinguish aromas. Piscos made from different grapes will have different descriptors. For example, a quebranta will commonly smell like banana, mango, pecans and raisins. An aromatic pisco like Italia will smell like fruit and flowers such as jasmine. Once you have observed the aromas and appearance, it’s time to taste.
When you taste a pisco, it should feel smooth in your mouth and throat. At no time should you feel a burning or harsh sensation. Identify in your mouth what flavors it has. You should be able to taste the same aromas that you smelled. For example, if you smelled pecans, you should taste pecans. You might be able to discover other flavors too, so pay close attention to how the flavors might change at different stages in the tasting process.
This is the general idea of how to conduct a pisco tasting. Remember that it takes practice to detect the different flavors and aromas of pisco. The more you do it, the more trained your nose and palate will become.”
In Peru, it is difficult not to stumble upon something associated with José de San Martín. From streets to provinces to statues to schools, this man’s legacy is ubiquitous. Born in Argentina, José de San Martín was a military leader who fought to liberate Argentina, Chile and Peru. However, he was notable not only for his efforts to gain independence in South America. San Martín also fought to abolish slavery, advocated for indigenous people and enacted freedom of speech in Peru.
José de San Martín first liberated Argentina and Chile from royalist rule. He then traveled to Peru to do the same. His efforts were successful; Peru’s independence was declared on July 28th, 1821. To this day, Peruvians celebrate Independence Day with copious amounts of pisco. Now they can add PiscoLogía’s San Martín cocktail to their repertoire.
Peru’s national hero died in France at the age of 72, shortly after hearing the news of Argentina’s victory against the Anglo-French blockade. To note this historical fact, Kami added a French twist to this cocktail with Chartreuse and Dubbonet.
Created by the master Kami Kenna, we present the San Martín cocktail to you:
What makes a bottle of liquor expensive? Where does Peruvian pisco fall on the pricing scale of spirits? Let’s discuss why Peruvian pisco is a premium spirit and how its price reflects the quality and care of what goes into every bottle.
The price of a bottle of liquor is influenced by its distillation methods, aging times, quality of ingredients, the labor involved in the production process and other factors. The higher the quality of ingredients or the more labor involved in making it, the more expensive it will be. For example, a meticulous distiller could use 17 pounds of potatoes to make one bottle of premium vodka. A cheaper brand might use significantly less potatoes, potatoes of lower quality or sloppy distillation methods. In other words, many factors influence price, but as a general rule, the more invested by the producers when crafting the product, the more it will cost at the liquor store.
Now, why is Peruvian pisco on the higher end of the scale in terms of price? The answer comes down to grapes; there are a lot of grapes in one bottle of pisco. On average, there are approximately 7.5 kilos (about 16.5 pounds) of grapes per bottle of pisco puro or pisco acholado. To make a mosto verde, you need an average about 15 kilos (33 pounds), double the amount of a regular bottle of pisco.
To explain this further, we made the chart below. You can see how Peruvian pisco compares to wine with regard to grapes per bottle. These are averages, as cluster size, grape size and grapevine yield vary widely between vineyards.
Per bottle of:
Weight of grapes
# of grapevines
1.5 kilos / 3.3 lbs
Acholado o puro
7.5 kilos / 16.5 lbs
15 kilos / 33 lbs
As evident in the chart, a bottle of regular pisco has more than 3,500 grapes in it, while a mosto verde requires roughly double that amount. That’s 7,000 grapes in one bottle of liquor!
In Azpitia, we get an average of 2 kilos of grapes per plant. This means that one bottle of pisco puro or pisco acholado uses the fruit from almost 4 entire grape vines. Mosto verde pisco uses all the fruit from 7.5 grape vines.
In addition to the sheer amount of fruit that goes into one bottle, one should also consider what’s required to produce healthy plants. Viticulture is arduous work. Grape vines must be carefully tended to for an entire year before the fruit can be picked. When you add in factors like hand-harvesting & hand-pruning, growing grapes can be even more expensive and time consuming.
We hope the next you sip a PiscoLogía cocktail, you will have a deeper understanding of what goes into every bottle. Besides thousands of grapes, there are many factors that make Peruvian pisco premium. The taste and quality of our final product reflect its price, a quintessential high-end spirit.
To make these estimations, we consulted the following source:
Gerling, Chris. “Conversion Factors: From Vineyard to Bottle.” Conversion Factors: From Vineyard to Bottle | Viticulture and Enology, 8 Dec. 2011, grapesandwine.cals.cornell.edu/newsletters/appellation-cornell/2011-newsletters/issue-8/conversion-factors-vineyard-bottle/.
If you have ever felt overwhelmed by the jargon on a Peruvian pisco label, you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we want to help you understand the vocabulary used to differentiate between types of pisco, pisco grapes and production zones in Peru. Hopefully you can use this as a guide the next time you browse the brandy section of the liquor store.
The Denomination of Origin in Peru requires that pisco labels must list 3 key elements: the type of pisco, the grape varietal(s), and where the pisco was produced. We will show you examples, but first we want to detail these 3 parts.
1) Type- There are 3 types of pisco:
Pisco puro– A single varietal pisco made from wine from one type of grape.
Pisco acholado– Made from more than one varietal. It can be a blend of grapes or a blend of piscos.
Pisco mosto verde– Pisco made from musts that aren’t fully fermented and sugar is still present in the juice. Mosto verde piscos tend to be more expensive because they use more grapes.
2) Varietal(s)- There are 8 grapes allowed in Peruvian pisco production:
Four aromatic grape varietals: Albilla, Italia, Moscatel & Torontel
Four non-aromatic grape varietals: Mollar, Negra Criolla, Quebranta & Uvina
Some producers may denote whether the grape used is aromatic or non-aromatic on their labels, although it isn’t required.
3) Production Location– There are 5 pisco-producing regions in Peru:
They are: Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna (only in the valleys of Locumba, Sama and Caplina). Some labels might have more specific information about the D.O., for example the name of the valley or town where it is produced. You will see this is the case with our labels below.
Now, let’s see how these terms are used on our acholado label:
This corresponds to the type(s) of grape used to make the pisco. Remember, “acholado” is a blend of grapes.
This tells where the pisco is made. In our case, we produce in the Denomination of Origin of Lima, but more specifically, in the town of Azpitia.
It is common to specify what grapes are used to make an acholado. To make our PiscoLogía acholado, we use a blend of Quebranta and Italia piscos.
How to read a single varietal pisco (pisco puro) label:
Again, this tells us the type(s) of grape used to make the pisco. In the case, the “quebranta” grape is used. Pisco puro means “pure”, or only one pisco grape varietal. Many producers will provide more information about that single varietal. For example, the back of our label states: “A single variety pisco distilled from quebranta, a low aromatic red wine”.
We hope we have demystified some of the difficult vocabulary used to label Peruvian pisco bottles. Knowing these terms will give you the knowledge you need to make smart purchase the next time you are looking for PiscoLogía or another high-quality Peruvian pisco. The next step is mixing your cocktails. Don’t miss the recipe page on our website: http://piscologia.com/drink-recipes/. ¡Salud!
Is Pisco Peruvian or Chilean? This question is the subject of an ongoing debate between Peru and Chile. Based on historical and etymological evidence that the first pisco was produced in Peru and because of Peru’s rich history of pisco production, we believe pisco is essentially Peruvian.
However, the objective answer to the question is: legally, pisco is both Peruvian and Chilean; both countries call their grape brandy “pisco” and both have a protected Denomination of Origin for pisco. But despite the shared name, they are very different products. Here’s a quick refresher:
Peruvian pisco is single-distilled to proof and nothing is added, not even water. Chilean pisco is distilled more than once and then watered down to a desired proof.
Peruvian pisco is aged in neutral casks and is therefore clear, while Chilean pisco is caramel colored because it’s aged in barrels.
Peruvian pisco is made from one or a blend of the 8 pisco-grapes grown on the coast of Peru in any of 5 the pisco-producing departments of the country. Chilean pisco is typically made from the Muscat grape (but sometimes Torontel or Pedro Jimenez grapes) in either of the country’s two pisco-producing regions, Atacama and Coquimbo.
Because of the differences in their distillation methods, their aging processes, and the grapes used, the final products have aromas and flavors that are very distinctive.
Peru and Chile have been vying for the exclusive rights to the D.O. for pisco for years. So, what’s the status of the heated conflict now? Last month the Chilean Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Walker, met with Rogers Valencia, the Minister of Culture of Peru. Mr. Walker requested that Peru recognize Chile’s D.O. to avoid clashes between Peruvian and Chilean pisco in international markets. The Peruvian minister declined. He explained that a denomination of origin cannot be shared outside its designated region because that defeats the purpose of protecting a product within a geographical area. According to the D.O. in Peru, pisco must be produced on the coast of Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna (only in the valleys of Locumba Locumba, Sama and Caplina). Anything produced outside of those areas (for example, in Chile) cannot be considered pisco.
Peru has made great strides in protecting its D.O. for pisco. It has exclusive rights to the use the word “pisco” in 30 countries, while it shares rights with Chile in 41 countries. Chilean pisco has exclusive rights to pisco in 4 countries, but that is expected to change, as Peru is in the process of negotiating trade deals in those areas (Melgarejo).
In summary, the ongoing conflict over the Denomination of Origin for pisco will most likely continue. At PiscoLogía we are dedicated to educating the consumer about the benefits of Peruvian pisco and following the rules of the D.O. to produce a craft product of unrivaled quality. The responsibility of the D.O. regulators in Peru is to impose the strictest standards from every producer in the country. In the end, the consumers’ demand for high-quality pisco will drive the market, allowing everyone around the world to appreciate the full potential of Peruvian pisco.
Melgarejo, Víctor. “Pisco: Perú Alista Otro Triunfo Sobre Chile En La Unión Europea.” Gestion, Gestion, 12 Mar. 2019, gestion.pe/economia/pisco-peru-alista-triunfo-chile-union-europea-261079.
PiscoLogía was recently described as deliciously briny by a discerning piscophile. We thought that this concept of brininess was interesting, so we set out to find out the origin of these salty undertones. In the end, we discovered more about how the Pacific Ocean breeze affects the flavor of our grapes and the terroir of our vineyards.
Many people believe that the salty sea air influences the flavor of grapes (Griffin). The reason for this comes down to simple geography. Vineyards near the coast are exposed to the tiny particles leftover from evaporated ocean spray droplets. Air currents then carry the particles from the sea, dispersing them far and wide. In the case of a vineyard, these salty remnants would fall on grape skins and in the soil (Clarke). Salt on the skins and in the environment in Azpitia would blend into the batch during production, possibly altering the flavor of the wine.
We have explained that to make Peruvian pisco, you first start with wine. Since our pisco is distilled only once, many characteristics of the wine are preserved in the final product. A briny, minerally wine will create a pisco with similar descriptors.
Our vineyards are only 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The ocean breeze that comes off of the coast in the early evening cools our vines while leaving a brackish trail in its path. This salty mist is just like the natural yeasts in our vineyards in Azpitia; they are floating in the air, forming the uniqueness that is our terroir.
Clarke, Shana. “Forget the Fruit, Savor These Salty Wines.” Pastemagazine.com, 26 June 2017, 1:16pm, www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/06/forget-the-fruit-savor-these-salty-wines.html.
Griffin, Annaliese. “What Do We Mean When We Say a Wine Is Salty?” Quartzy, Quartz, 24 June 2018, qz.com/quartzy/1313189/what-do-we-mean-when-we-say-a-wine-is-salty/.