Distilled Spirits – Brandy – Peruvian Pisco (1)
The word “pisqu” in the southern Quechua language, spoken in much of Peru before the arrival of Spanish colonizers, refers to small birds. This word appears in chronicles with variants such as “pisku,” “phishgo,” and “pichiu.” Similarly, it is integrated into geographical names in various regions of the country, not only in the southern Quechua variant but also in its other derivatives, such as “pishqu.”
The Peruvian coastal strip has always stood out for hosting significant bird populations that found sustenance in the rich supply of fish, especially in the region known as the “Sur Chico.” Among the valleys associated with the Pisco, Ica, and Grande rivers, this phenomenon is prominently manifested.
In the Pisco valley, more than two thousand years ago, a human community flourished, distinguished by its pottery and ceramics. In the time of the Inca Empire, they were renowned for their notable pottery productions, baptized as “piskos.”
Since then, one of the most prominent pottery products was containers or amphorae used to store various beverages, including alcoholic ones. These containers were named “piskos.”
Evolutionarily, the first grape brandy produced in Peruvian soil was stored in these “piskos,” and over time, the alcoholic elixir adopted the name of its container.
Additionally, the Royal Spanish Academy, in its Dictionary of the Spanish Language, confirms the origin of the term “pisco” as derived from the city of Pisco, located in the Ica department in Peru. This confirmation reinforces the historical and cultural connection of the term with the land of its origin.
In summary, Peruvian Pisco transcends its category of brandy to become a cultural and gastronomic heritage rooted in the pre-Columbian history of the region. Its origin intertwines with the ceramic “piskos” of ancient times, giving name and form to a distillate that has conquered palates and crossed oceans in its journey towards international recognition. Beyond disputes over its designation, Peruvian Pisco persists as a manifestation of identity, tradition, and excellence in the art of distillation.