Viva Pisco!



by Raul Faria

I recently had the opportunity to go to a Pisco tasting event sponsored by Kappa Pisco, Hosted by Steve Olson aka “the wine geek” also one of the Bar Smarts Jedi Masters. We got the chance to try a wide range of Pisco in terms of flavor, learn the differences and similarities between Chilean and Peruvian Pisco and had some pretty damn good cocktails to boot.

First let’s start off with what the hell Pisco is for those who aren’t familiar with it. Pisco is a distillate made from grapes, produced in Peru and Chile. Done. Now one could say well it’s just South American Brandy, well yes and no. Yes it is a grape distillate like Brandy but no in regards to how it is actually made, the grapes used, the aging, and the very specific regulations and the hotly disputed origins of Pisco. You can get pretty deep into the differences between Chilean and Peruvian Pisco, and how Pisco differs from Grappa and Brandy. For now a couple main differences would be Peruvian Pisco is not aged in wood barrel (its rested for three months in stainless steel or glass), is distilled to proof (does not add water) and Chilean Pisco can be aged in wooden barrels and can add water to adjust the proof. Chilean Pisco utilizes full on fermented wine and Peruvian Pisco utilizes young wines to use in its distillation. We just scratched the surface here but I just wanted to introduce what Pisco is in general and show you how much variation there is in this really cool and fun to mix with spirit. Next Ill share with you my impressions on 5 different Piscos


Aroma- on the nose I definitely got heat from the alcohol with a little vanilla, sugar and a light, and bright almost sake like.

Taste- soft weight and mouth feel followed by grapes and melon with a slight earthy undertone.

Finish- flavors of tropical fruit that develop into an astringent, tannic finish.

La Diablada

Aroma- very floral, lots of elderflower, tropical and a little buttery.

Taste- spice, like a weighty floral gin or a spice laden St Germaine, lots of herbs and flowers.

Finish- lots of grape on the finish.


Aroma- heat from the alcohol perfumy and floral like.

Taste- earthy, dry and clean with melon present throughout.

Finish- Very clean, crisp red apple, slightly tannic, very looooong finish.

Kappa PIsco

Aroma- lots of honey, pear, a little red apple.

Taste- soft mouth feel, very clean and dry, with a touch of spice.

Finish- clean, dry and astringent finish with spice throughout.

Pisco Porton

Aroma- musty, grassy and herbaceous

Taste- heat, light chalk, dry Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc like dry grape flavor, slate.

Finish- tannic, astringent finish with a touch a little pineapple

Be sure to check out the links above for more info on these great brands. Thanks to Kappa Pisco for putting on such an amazing event, Steve Olson for sharing the knowledge, Leo Degroff and Patricia Richards for the tasty cocktails, and to Sirio Restaurant at Aria Resort and Casino for hosting us in their beautiful private dining room.

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