Distilled Spirits – Brandy – Chilean Pisco (9) 

Distilled Spirits – Brandy – Chilean Pisco (9)

The Aroma Wheel of Chilean Pisco

The Aroma Wheel, traditionally used in beverage tasting, compiles a list of terms representing the perceivable aromas in the drink. The objectivity of this method lies in the fact that these aromas have recognizable natural references for the majority of people.

Given the unique characteristics of Chilean Pisco, the parameters of cognac, whiskey, and other distilled beverages were not applicable. Therefore, the Aroma Center at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile conducted a project between 1999 and 2001 to develop an aromatic terms wheel specific to Pisco. Oenologists, experts, and industry technicians collaborated in this initiative.

Participants in the project created the necessary terminology to describe different Pisco samples. After tasting over fifteen brands, oenologists successfully identified 42 characteristic aromas of Pisco, ranging from “citrus,” “jasmine,” and “vanilla” notes to nuances like “soapy,” “burning,” and “vinegar.” These aromas were hierarchically organized into a “Chilean Pisco Aroma Wheel” with three levels, encompassing both positive qualities and defects.

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Organizations and Programs to Promote Chilean Pisco
Association of Pisco Producers

The Association of Pisco Producers AG, established in 2003 and with legal status, brings together grape growers, winemakers, distillers, and packers associated with Pisco. It represents over 95% of the associated productive areas. The association includes 11 companies linked to Pisco, marketing 15 brands both nationally and internationally.

National Pisco Board

The “National Pisco Board,” also known as the “Pisco Board,” was formed in April 2008 under the Ministry of Agriculture. This board brings together representatives from the public and private sectors linked to the Pisco production chain. Its main purpose is to develop a strategy to enhance the competitiveness of the Pisco industry.

Pisco Spirits

The “Pisco Competitiveness Improvement Program,” known as Pisco Spirits, originated in 2009. This initiative brings together leading Pisco companies and grape producers from the Atacama and Coquimbo regions. Its objective is to position Chilean Pisco as a premium product and experience globally. Pisco Spirits is driven by the Regional Agency for Productive Development (ARDP) and the Subdirectorate of Sector Brands at ProChile.

PIT Pisco

The “Territorial Innovation Program of the Pisco Production Chain” (PIT Pisco) is a public-private collaboration led by the Regional Center Intihuasi of the Agricultural Research Institute (INIA). This program involves the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, the Association of Pisco Producers AG, ARDP, ProChile, Corfo, Indap, the Agricultural and Livestock Service, the Clean Production Council of the Chilean Pisco Industry, and the majority of Chilean Pisco-producing companies. This initiative, which will take place between 2009 and 2012, aims primarily to create a strategy to improve the competitiveness of the Pisco industry at both the national and international levels, covering the most significant links in the production and marketing chain.

Pairing with Chilean Pisco

Chilean Pisco is extremely versatile when it comes to pairing, thanks to its diversity of aromas and flavors, making it especially well-suited for seafood and desserts. There are four varieties of Chilean Pisco commonly used in pairing: transparent, aged, vintage, and artisanal.

Cocktails with Chilean Pisco

Piscola is a popular cocktail that combines Chilean Pisco with cola. Its origin is linked to the introduction of cola drinks in the Chilean market, especially with the arrival of Coca Cola in the country in the 1940s. Piscola has become one of the most iconic and popular alcoholic beverages in Chile due to its accessibility and simplicity. Over the years, it has gained acceptance across all socioeconomic levels, displacing other options such as beer, chicha, rum, and whiskey.

Chilean Pisco Sour

Chilean Pisco Sour is a cocktail made with Pisco and Pica lemon juice, to which other ingredients are added. There is controversy about its origin, similar to the case in Peru. Although traditionally made at home, in recent years the Chilean Pisco industry has started to commercialize bottled Pisco Sour. According to Article 58 of Decree 78 dated October 23, 1986, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Pisco Sour produced and bottled in Regions III and IV is made with Pisco, lemon juice, or natural lemon flavoring, and may contain approved additives such as stabilizers, thickeners, emulsifiers, clouding agents, and colorings. Its minimum alcohol content should be 20° Gay-Lussac, and its maximum impurity content is 3.5 grams per liter. Later, Decree 75 dated April 13, 2009, from the Ministry of Agriculture modified the denomination of Pisco Sour, establishing a minimum alcohol content of 12° Gay-Lussac and a maximum impurity content of 2.0 grams per liter. One of the most common recipes for Chilean Pisco Sour is to mix 3 parts Chilean Pisco, 1 part Pica lemon juice, egg white, sugar to taste, and ice, then shake.


Pistón is a classic Chilean cocktail made by mixing Pisco, tonic water, and lemon. It is associated with summer and gained popularity in the 1950s in soda fountains. After losing popularity, it experienced a resurgence in the 2010s. The classic preparation involves serving Pisco in a tall glass with ice and a lemon slice, then topping off the drink with tonic water.

Serena Libre

Serena Libre or Serena Sour is a Chilean cocktail created in the 1990s in the bars of the city of La Serena. It is based on Pisco and papaya juice, a fruit widely cultivated in the Coquimbo Region and a symbol of the city. Its preparation is simple, requiring only the mixing of 2 parts Chilean Pisco, papaya juice, powdered sugar to taste, and ice.

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