August 2019's Selection – Barsol Pisco
For August we thought we'd venture across the oceans, to darkest Peru. We've been wanting to feature a pisco for a long while, but had to wait until the right one came along – and for the right weather to enjoy it at its best.
Pisco is an unaged grape brandy from Peru (or Chile). It’s essentially distilled wine, like cognac or armagnac from France. Unlike those French brandies, however, it's clear – because it's only left to rest in inert vessels rather than aged in oak barrels.
The rules of production dictate that Peruvian pisco must have no water added before bottling. The only ingredient allowed is grapes.
This means it's distilled only once, to 40ish percent alcohol – whereas most spirits are distilled twice, up to roughly 70 percent alcohol, and later reduced to bottling strength with water.
Barsol is produced at the Bodega San Isidro, located on the southern side of the Ica Valley. The bodega dates back to the 19th century and has changed ownership many times over the years – including a spell from 1968 when Peru's military government expropriated the land and handed it over to workers and peasants. The current owners, Carlos Ferreyros and Diego Loret de Mola, bought the property in 2002 and created the Barsol brand.