Original from the cultural and ethnic mix of Spain and Peru’s native roots, Pisco is a pure distilled from grapes that represents feast and celebration. About the origins of the word “pisco”, the lexicologist Cesar Angeles Caballero identifies four causes; the first one situated in pre columbian times that blends with hispanic elements set up by the spanish Colonies.
On the other hand, quechua natives of the now Ica region used to call “pisku” the diverse species of birds that inhabit the place, a word that eventually would transformed into “Pisco” and identified the same geographical area. About its ethnic origins, Angeles also indicates that from pre hispanic times, groups descendents from Paracas, who lived in the area where the port of Pisco is now located, were very handy with pottery. This community, that would have been conquered by the Inca Pachacutec, elaborated containers from clay that were used to store all kind of liquids -mainly chicha-. These containers were called “piskos” and, when the spanish arrived, it started to be used to kept brandy made of the grape that was produced in the area.
That is why drinking pisco in one of the best ways of getting to know Peru. If you haven’t try it like it’s supposed to, we recommend you to follow the path of the Pisco Route.
Departing from Lima, the first stop is Lunahuaná. There is no better start than El Paraiso’s pisco cellar. This place produces one of the most awarded Pisco Italia. Other pisco cellars, such as El Olimpo and Los Reyes, are also quite emblematic. But if you really want to soak up the whole experience of the variety in the zone, stroll around La Casa del Pisco, located in the main square of Lunahuaná.
Nowadays, Ica is know to be the land of pisco. Over there are so many pisco cellars that is hard to pay a visit to all of them; nevertheless, you can’t go without tasting the Cholo Matías pisco and, if it is possible, visiting the family that produces it: they a great variety of grapes and the best pisco made from them: Quebranta, Italia, Albilla, Torontel, Moscatel, among others.
In the same area, Caravedo’s pisco cellar offers the best macerated pisco in Peru. Their preparations contain ecological pisco, very characteristic of this cellar owned by Rodrigo Pesquiera. There is also Mrs. Juanita, from the estate Tres Esquinas, known to everyone as “La Dama del Pisco” or the Lady of Pisco. It’s worthy to pay a visit to Mrs. Juanita and listen to her singing to her grapes. But if you want to meet the bad boys of pisco, the pure strain “pisqueros”, ask for the FBI (Federation of Drinkers of Ica), leaded by Chaucato Mejía -permanent president-. The vivid group will surprise you with the Pisco Macho of 48°.
Another land that is also known for its pisco tradition is Moquegua, were cellars are very close to each other and connected by perfect signaling (the only signboards in Peru that indicate the route of Pisco). It is very common to see in this area to all of the producers of this beverage passing to one and other a little glass of pisco; they start with a bottle and finish “testing” all of the pisco offered in the region.
Biondi is a pisco cellar we also recommend in Moquegua; aswell as El Mocho pisco, from Norville's cellar, with its one liter alembic, and the pisquero Tito Paredes, three treasures you can’t miss.
We hope you take advantage of these tips we shared you and include your own personal variants in your pisco path. You never know what surprises you may find in the way…