10 Best Pisco Brands


This article contains affiliate links that allows us to earn a small commission on purchases made though the links (at no extra cost to you). We appreciate your support!

Pisco is a brandy made from distilled grape juice that used to be the darling of almost every drinking establishment in the United States and South America in the late 1800s. Even the iconic Bank Exchange Saloon served Pisco Punch, an eclectic mix of pineapple juice, lime juice, sugar, gum arabic, with a generous measure of pisco. Sadly, pisco has been largely ignored in recent years.

However, there is a drinks revolution underway, and pisco has gathered a cult following not just in South America, but worldwide. Family-run micro-distilleries have begun popping up all over Peru and Chile and producing pisco of such quality that it rivals the best sipping tequilas and grappas. Coming up is a carefully curated selection the best pisco brands to delight your taste-buds.

What Is Pisco?

Pisco is an un-aged brandy that is made from fermented grape juice, then distilled to produce the final clear spirit. It was originally made by the Spanish missionaries during their time spent in South American in the 16th century. To earn the correct title ‘pisco’, this brandy can only be made in Peru or Chile and must be made only from fermented grape juice.

How Is Pisco Made?

Pisco is made by first fermenting grape juice, then using a distilling process to extract the alcohol to produce the final spirit. The spirit is then rested for at least 4 months, then bottled. The grapes traditionally used to make pisco are Muscat, Quebranta, Moscatel or Torontel. This can be a combination of grape or just the one variety.

Top 10 Best Pisco Brands

Here are a selection ten fantastic piscos from the best pisco brands that Chile and Peru have to offer. Most are the traditional un-aged variety, although I have included two aged piscos that make an interesting alternative, especially for sipping neat.

1. ABA Pisco

ABA Pisco

Overview

  • Distiller: ABA
  • Alcohol By Volume: 40% (80 proof)
  • Colour: Clear
  • Country: Chile
  • Grape: Muscat

Review

ABA Pisco is produced by the Aguirre family in the Elqui Valley, located in the Chilean Andes. They use the finest locally sourced Muscat grapes that are grown using traditional farming methods unchanged for hundreds of years.

Using copper pot stills, their pisco is twice distilled to squeeze out every last drop of spirit available. This process creates an extremely clean and crisp experience. This is a premium pisco that won ABA a gold award at the 2004 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Begins clean and crisp, with notes of citrus and grape that add depth to the fresh floral on the nose. Becomes more spicy and woody as it lingers on the palate, although vanilla provides a smooth finish. It does have a final twang of bitter grape skin which shines through in a Pisco Sour cocktail.

Comes presented in a tall, slender bottle made of clear glass, sporting a cork stopper.

Summary

ABA Pisco is a premium pisco that makes an incredible Pisco Sour cocktail due to its crisp, aromatic notes and bitter ending. This pisco can also be sipped due to its fresh aromatic floral notes and creamy smooth vanilla tones.

2. La Caravedo Quebranta Pisco

La Caravedo Quebranta Pisco

Overview

  • Distiller: Caravedo
  • Alcohol By Volume: 40% (80 proof)
  • Colour: Clear
  • Country: Peru
  • Grape: Quebranta

Review

Established in 1684, Hacienda La Caravedo is one of the oldest working distilleries in South America. They still use hand-crafted small batch methods to preserve the authenticity of this national treasure.

This is a single grape pisco, which requires approximately 3 kilos of Quebrada grapes to produce a single 750ml bottle of Caravedo Quebranta Pisco.

After fermentation and distillation in copper pot stills, the distilled pisco is then rested for 6 months in inert stainless-steel containers. No water, colour or sugar is added to the resulting pisco, so this is pisco as nature intended!

Begins smoothly with a clean and fresh nose. Fruity notes of apple and pear are first to appear and combine with hints of dark (and slightly bitter) chocolate and ripe banana. The finish is clean with a nip of pepper adding spice to the trailing end.

Presented in a clear bottle with red decoration on the edges.

Summary

This is a delicate, clean and refreshing pisco that still retains considerable complexity. Its fruity body makes it excellent for sipping and also a perfect base for Pisco Punch.

3. Barsol Primero Quebranta

Barsol Primero Quebranta

Overview

  • Distiller: Barsol
  • Alcohol By Volume: 40% (80 proof)
  • Colour: Clear
  • Country: Peru
  • Grape: Quebranta

Review

The Bodega San Isidro plantation estate dates back to the 1800s and was recently acquired by Barsol in 2002. To this day, their pisco is still produced in small batches using classic pisco pot distillation methods used for centuries to capture the soul of this historic beverage.

Barsol Primero Quebranta is made solely from Quebranta grapes that are grown in the Ica Valley region of Peru and indigenous to the region.

As this pisco is distilled to the final bottle ABV, no additional water (or flavourings for that matter) is added to the distilled pisco, and it is bottled directly after distillation.

Begins gently with sweet and aromatic notes of fresh green grape, vanilla and caramel. Soon shows a darker side with black pepper and bitter chocolate making an exciting appearance. The finish is smooth and refined with more caramel notes and a touch of fresh almond.

Presented in a rather grand looking clear bottle with the company logo embossed on the glass. Would make an excellent gift.

Summary

Barsol Primero Quebranta is an excellent all-round pisco. It is peppery with smooth vanilla notes and sweet grape that work well in a Pisco Sour. As a sipping pisco, this is highly recommended due to its smooth and refined nature.

4. Pisco El Gobernador

Pisco El Gobernador

Overview

  • Distiller: Juan Torres Master Distillers
  • Alcohol By Volume: 40% (80 proof)
  • Colour: Clear
  • Country: Chile
  • Grape: Muscat

Review

The roots of Juan Torres Master Distillers dates back to 1928 when Juan Torres Casals began to distil brandy that was aged in soft and scented oak barrels. In 1979, the Torres family founded the Miguel Torres Chile winery, with vineyards near the Andes and began producing with wine and pisco.

Pisco El Gobernador is a Chilean pisco made from a blend of two Muscat grape varieties (Alexandria and Rosé). It is created by the use of a single process of discontinuous distillation in copper stills and then aged for a year in inert steel containers.

Begins nicely on the palate, with the mellow sweetness of pear, peach and candied citrus skins. White floral aromas of jasmine and rose soon appear to delight. Finishes with smooth, creamy notes and the freshness citrusy/mintiness of lemongrass.

Presented in what feels to me to be a prohibition-style bottle with offset green label with the phrase “El Gobernador”, (meaning “the Governor” in Spanish) proudly displayed on the front.

Summary

Pisco El Gobernador is a well-rounded pisco with a subtle sweetness and lush notes of floral and crisp citrus. Ideal as a base for numerous cocktails, although it can certainly be enjoyed neat thanks to its slightly sweet and crisp flavour profile.

5. Capel Moai Reservado Pisco

Capel Moai Reservado Pisco

Overview

  • Distiller: Capel
  • Alcohol By Volume: 40% (80 proof)
  • Colour: Amber
  • Country: Chile
  • Grape: Muscat

Review

I thought it’s time to buck the trend and review one of the few aged piscos available today. One could argue that this is no longer pisco as its matured in American oak barrels after distillation, very similar to the amazing aged tequila’s I reviewed recently.

Capel is one of the leading pisco manufactures in Chile, and produce many excellent varieties of pisco using cooperative producers. Their Moai Reservado pisco is made in the Valle de Elqui region of Chile and consists entirely of Muscat grapes.

Begins smoothly with notes of fresh fruits, spices and grape notes. Soon you are greeted with a combination of cracked black pepper and deep woody tones. Finishes deeply with further fruity notes and additional spices. This is an unusual pisco that is extremely well rounded and smooth.

Presented in what must be the best pisco bottle ever! Shaped like the Moai statues on Easter Island, this bottle literally stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. Would make a fantastic gift.

Summary

An exciting interpretation of pisco that is intense, fruity and woody. Its is deep and full-bodied and well-balanced. This one is destined for sipping neat only.

6. Waqar Pisco

Waqar Pisco

Overview

  • Distiller: Waqar
  • Alcohol By Volume: 40% (80 proof)
  • Colour: Clear
  • Country: Chile
  • Grape: Muscat

Review

Waqar is a family-owned distillery that has been handed down from father to son for over 5 generations. I think it’s fair to say that pisco production is in their DNA.

Only the finest hand-picked Muscat grapes are used for Wagar Pisco. Their historic vineyards are over 100-years old and located at the foothill of the Andes Mountains in northern Chile, a region that is synonymous with traditional pisco.

As with most premium spirits, Waqar Pisco is distilled in small batches using a copper pot still. Most importantly, there are no additives or ageing to ensure a natural aromatic, clean pisco taste.

Begins with the clean and crisp twang of grape that blends nicely with fresh sweet pear as it lingers on the tongue. Floral notes are present throughout. The finish is a refreshing combination of grape, cracked black pepper and mild liquorice.

Comes presented in a clear glass bottle decorated with grapevines around all sited and finished with a cork-like stopper. Looks very modern and enticing.

Summary

Waqar has created a highly aromatic sipping pisco, that is fruity, floral with a multitude of delicate herb notes.

7. 1615 Mosto Verde Quebranta Pisco

1615 Mosto Verde Quebranta Pisco

Overview

  • Distiller: Bodega San Nicolas
  • Alcohol By Volume: 42% (84 proof)
  • Colour: Amber
  • Country: Peru
  • Grape: Quebranta

Review

The vineyard of Bodega San Nicolas is located a few hundred km south of the Peru capital of Lima. It was originally part of the 16th-century Hacienda of Santa Cruz de Lanchas, where Jesuit monks tended the vineyards and produced both wine and pisco.

1615 Mosto Verde Quebranta Pisco is made using the Quebranta grape, which is the strongest of all pisco grape varietals. 10 kilos of Quebranta grapes are used to produce a single 1-litre bottle of this premium pisco.

Distilled in traditional copper stills with no additives, this delightful clear brandy retains the true pisco flavour profile. Quebranta grapes are non-aromatic, so best appreciated on the palate as does not give much nose.

Begins with zesty crisp citrus, grape and delicious green apple. You are soon greeted with delicious notes of vanilla, rose and sweet plum. The finish is clean, yet slightly bitter.

Presented in a tall, clear, glass bottle with a drawing of the remaining ruins of the old Hacienda of Santa Cruz de Lanchas displayed on the label.

Summary

1615 Mosto Verde Quebranta Pisco has a wonderfully light rose aroma. It combines notes of vanilla, grape and sweet plum. Perfect for sipping neat, best served slightly chilled. Works well in a Pisco Sour too!

8. Viñas de Oro Moscatel Pisco

Viñas de Oro Moscatel Pisco

Overview

  • Distiller: Viñas de Oro
  • Alcohol By Volume: 41% (82 proof)
  • Colour: Clear
  • Country: Peru
  • Grape: Moscatel

Review

Viñas de Oro grow 7 varieties of grape at their vineyard that lies close to the South Pacific coast. For Viñas de Oro Moscatel Pisco only one grape type is used, yes, you guessed it, Moscatel.

The Moscatel grapes are harvested, de-stemmed, then fermented for approx 7 – 10 days with no yeast or other additives. The fermented grape juice is distilled once in copper post stills and rested for 10 months in inert steel containers.

Peruvian pisco produced by Viñas de Oro, made using just one variety of grape, Moscatel! A popular choice among both pisco and wine producers alike, this humble grape can create some spectacular tipples full of vibrancy and elegance; which is precisely what you’re getting here.

Begins delightfully with citrus and peach notes. Mid notes of vanilla, sweet toffee and contrasting bitter dark chocolate create depth. Finishes cleanly and slightly bitter-sweet. A very refreshing pisco that’s perfect for enjoying neat on in a Pisco Sour.

Moscatel Pisco is presented in an attractive tall and slender necked glass bottle that is wider at the base.

Summary

If you wish to experience pisco in its truest form, then look no further then Viñas de Oro Moscatel Pisco. Traditionally made with no extra additives, this vibrant and fruity pisco deserves your attention.

9. Waqar Pisco Anejado Heron

Waqar Pisco Anejado Heron

Overview

  • Distiller: Waqar
  • Alcohol By Volume: 40% (80 proof)
  • Colour: Light Amber
  • Country: Chile
  • Grape: Muscat

Review

The second of two aged piscos in this review, Waqar Pisco Anejado Heron is limited edition and was released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of French importer La Maison Du Whisky.

This pisco was a made using a blend of Muscat grapes; Alexandria and Pink Muscat, and double distilled in copper pot stills. The resulting spirit is then aged for 6 years in American oak casks which provides additional flavour and depth while still retaining the classic pisco fruity notes.

Begins with grape, slightly sweet honey and creamy vanilla at the front. The sharper twang of lemon citrus is also present. The mid notes are exciting, with more grape, hints of tobacco, cracked black pepper, and deep woody notes. The finish is smooth and caramel-like. Fantastic.

Presented in an eye-catching slim bottle that reminds me of an expensive Olive Oil.

Summary

This is exciting pisco that although it is aged, still retains all the hallmarks of traditional pisco with additional complexity

10. Barsol Supremo Mosto Verde Torontel

Barsol Supremo Mosto Verde Torontel

Overview

  • Distiller: Barsol
  • Alcohol By Volume: 41.8% (83.6 proof)
  • Colour: Clear
  • Country: Peru
  • Grape: Torontel

Review

Our second pisco created by Barsol in this review. Barsols historic plantation estate, The Bodega San Isidro dates back to the 1800s. Their pisco is produced in small batches using pot distillation methods to ensure maximum taste

Barsol Supremo Mosto Verde Torontel is made solely from Totontel grapes, grown in the Ica Valley region of Peru, which produces fresh, aromatic pisco with low acidity.

Begins very fruity, with notes of peach, apricot and grape. Soon red berries are clearly present, along with black cracked pepper and cinnamon. Finished very cleanly, with crisp grape and additional herb notes.

Presented in an eye-catching art-deco looking bottle with the company logo proudly embossed on the glass. Very high-class looking.

Summary

A back-to-basics traditional pisco that uses the Torontel grape variety that is well-known for their aromatic nose and distinctive taste. An excellent pisco for both sipping and cocktails.

Pisco Summary Table

#NameGrapeABV
1ABA PiscoMuscat40% (80 proof)
2Caravedo Quebranta PiscoQuebranta40% (80 proof)
3Barsol Primero QuebrantaQuebranta40% (80 proof)
4Pisco El GobernadorMuscat40% (80 proof)
5Capel Moai ReservadoMuscat40% (80 proof)
6Waqar PiscoMuscat40% (80 proof)
71615 PiscoQuebranta40% (80 proof)
8Viñas de Oro MoscatelMoscatel41% (82 proof)
9Pisco Anejado HeronMuscat40% (80 proof)
10Barsol SupremoTorontel41.8% (83.6 proof)

What Is The Best Pisco To Drink Neat?

– Unaged Pisco

If you wish to experience pisco at its most traditional, the best pisco to drink neat is the un-aged variety. Un-aged pisco provides clean and crisp grape notes combined with a floral nose.

– Aged Pisco

For a more well-rounded pisco experience, you can choose one of the aged varieties. Although not deemed true pisco, the aged variety is more smooth and flavoursome with woody and caramel notes, much like aged tequila.

What Are The Most Famous Pisco Cocktails?

It sometimes seems that there are more pisco cocktails than there are grains of sand on the planet. Here are the 2 most famous pisco cocktails for you to enjoy

The Pisco Sour

The Pisco Sour

The Pisco Sour is a classic Peruvian cocktail that is both sweet, sour, and highly refreshing. Thought to have been first created in Lima, Peru by Victor Vaughen Morris in the 1920s.

Ingredients
  • 2 oz (60ml) Pisco
  • 1 oz (30ml) Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz (30ml) Sugar syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • Angostura bitters
Steps
  • Add ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.
  • Strain into a chilled glass with fresh ice.
  • Finish with 3 drops of Angostura bitters.

The Pisco Punch

The Pisco Punch

The Pisco Punch was made famous by Duncan Nicol, a bartender at the famous San Francisco Bank Exchange Saloon. It’s a sweet-tasting cocktail that hides the strong pisco lurking inside to catch unsuspected drinkers by surprise. Hence the name.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz (60ml) Pisco
  • 2 oz (60ml) Pineapple juice
  • 1 oz (30ml) Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz (30ml) Sugar syrup
  • Garnish with a cherry and 1 – 2 pineapple chunks

Steps

  • Add ingredients (except garnish) into a shaker with ice and shake.
  • Strain into a chilled glass with fresh ice.
  • Garnish with pineapple chunks and a cherry.

Conclusion

Pisco is a traditional and hugely versatile brandy from Peru and Chile that is made from fermented grape juice. It can be sipped slowly and enjoyed neat, or as a welcome addition to several exciting cocktails such as the Pisco Punch and Pisco Sour. Of the best pisco brands we have reviewed today, all can generate that relaxed South American vibe.

Author Bio

error: Content is protected !!