Distilled Spirits – Brandy – Chilean Pisco (8)

Distilled Spirits – Brandy – Chilean Pisco (8)

Routes of Pisco in Chile

The routes or tourist circuits associated with pisco-related activities in Chile are located in the Atacama and Coquimbo Regions:

Huasco Valley

The Pisco Route of the Huasco Valley is associated with the production of small pisco distilleries. It starts from the city of Vallenar in the Atacama Region, located 650 kilometers north of Santiago, and then heads inland to the town of Alto del Carmen, where the main CAPEL Cooperative plant is located. This is where the majority of alcohol for producing Alto del Carmen pisco is produced. The National Day of Chilean Pisco is celebrated in this town every year. Noteworthy in this town is also the production of artisanal pisco by Bou Barroeta, an artisanal plant located in El Rosario, just 10 minutes’ drive from Alto del Carmen via the C-485 route (Valle del Carmen). Artisanal pisco has been produced here since 1925, with a production that does not exceed 60,000 bottles per year. The distillery is managed by its owners, and a visit must be reserved at least 48 hours in advance.

Pisco Sour
Another artisanal distillery located in this valley is the Horcón Quemado Plant, located in the town of San Félix, a further 40 minutes’ drive on the same route. It has century-old grapevines, a copper still, and an artisanal bottling center where several local families work. The artisanal plant is managed by its owner and also requires advance reservation.

Elqui Valley

In 2003, the CAPEL and Control cooperatives initiated the Pisco Route project, with the aim of showing visitors and tourists around various places in the Elqui Valley related to the history, tradition, and production of Chilean pisco.

The Pisco Route of the Elqui Valley begins in the city of La Serena, which can also be reached by air. Following Route 41 into the Elqui Valley, the main tourist town of Vicuña is located, and nearby is the ABA pisco distillery at kilometer 66. They offer daily free tours and guided tours of their vineyards, with facilities for purchasing bottles in their cellars.

Another point on this route is the town of Pisco Elqui, near which is the Mistral distillery, named after the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. This distillery has a diverse restaurant and offers guided tours, access to a small museum, and an underground wine cellar.

As part of the Pisco Route, CAPEL established the Pisco Museum in the vicinity of Vicuña in 2004, where the history of Chilean pisco is showcased, from its origins around the 16th century to the major milestones in its production.

A little further up, just 3.4 km from Pisco Elqui, near the town of Horcón, is the Los Nichos distillery, famous because President Gabriel González Videla used to come here to sample their liquors. Many of its facilities were built in the 19th century and constitute an important heritage in the region.

Limarí Valley

This route starts in the city of Ovalle, the capital of the Limarí province in the Coquimbo Region. About 25 minutes from the center of Ovalle, in the area known as Huamalata, is the modern Mal Paso pisco distillery. This distillery has been in production since the 1960s and has the technology to produce up to 9,500 bottles per day. During the visit, visitors can observe the wine distillation process for pisco production through skylights in the production areas.

On the road from Ovalle to Monte Patria, near the town of Varillar de Rapel, you’ll find the Bauzá pisco distillery. This distillery started producing pisco in 1925 and is known for its charming colonial house surrounded by vineyards of Moscatel Rosada and Moscatel de Alejandría. At Bauzá, you can see modern stainless steel tanks, old copper stills, and oak barrels used for pisco storage. To visit this distillery, it’s necessary to make a reservation in advance.

Near Monte Patria is Chañaral de Carén, a distillery located in the Huallilén Estate. This distillery is characterized by its traditional approach and artisanal production of pisco, which has been recognized with gold medals in competitions.

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