I attended a BarSmarts seminar a few years ago where one of the speakers began to talk about upcoming trends and new spirits that would be making mixological inroads in the U.S. One that was mentioned several times was Pisco. I was familiar with it as a Peruvian grape brandy. However, I learned it is also produced in Chile and has been so for almost 450 years. Originally what is now called Chile was a geographical part of Peru when ruled by the Spanish in the 16th century. In fact, it was the Spanish who introduced grape varietals to South America and began distilling wine.
Now both countries claim Pisco as their national spirit. The styles are many, but it still comes down to distilled grape brandy. There are thirteen grape varieties which can be used in the production of Pisco, and it must be aged at least 60 days in either French or American oak casks or stainless steel. Capel uses a blend of 100% Pedro Jiminez grapes grown on estates in the Copiapó, Huasco, Elqui, Limarí and Choapa valleys. These are distilled, then aged for five months in stainless steel, giving it a light and fruit forward character.
Capel Pisco (80 proof)
Visual: Perfectly clear.
Nose: Bright vine fruit, candy-like florality, enticing fresh grape sense.
Taste: Light and bright with loads of floral notes and obvious grape character. Fruity, but not to the point of overwhelming the distillate.
Finish: Fairly long with a great deal of heat and spice. A bit rustic, with a lot of burn in the far back palate.
Overall: Not the smoothest Pisco I’ve ever had, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Certainly it will work well in a classic sour and as a base spirit in most cocktails. Considering the under $20 a bottle price point, it is recommended.
GSN Rating: B
For more information go to: Capel