Pisco is a clear or light amber brandy with a proof in the mid-80s. That’s pretty potent – around the same as gin, served straight up.
Taste of Pisco
The brand I tried was Pisco Porton, one of the more readily available brands in the US. Pisco brandy is only made in Chile and Peru, and Pisco Porton specifically is made in Hacienda La Caravedo in Ica, Peru. I expect it has a lot in common with other brands, but tastes can vary from one brand to the next,
Pisco Porton smells a little like wine, but with strong enough fumes to open your sinuses. Surprisingly, it tastes a lot smoother than it smells. There’s still a burn, but it didn’t make me cough and sputter. The taste was otherwise much like the smell – grape, with hints of something a little bit sharp and exciting, like a not-so-sweet apple. I actually really liked the flavor.
The mouthfeel is extremely light, as you’d expect with something this potent. The aftertaste is nice – mostly sweet, with those grape and apple notes. This is a nice spirit for sipping.
It’s also worth noting that in the case of the Pisco Porton brand, the bottle itself is pretty special. There’s a picture on the inside of the back which shows through the clear brand and the front of the bottle, creating a sort of 3D effect. I tried to capture it with the camera here, but it doesn’t really convey the effect. Not that packaging is the most important thing, but when you’re considering a bottle to present as a gift for a cocktail lover, it can be a consideration.