Where there is wine there is brandy. An age old tradition repeated across the globe, for centuries people have been taking the leftovers from winemaking and turning it into brandy, grappa, aguardiente, firewater, pisco; particularly in Italy with grappa, these distillates were for those who couldn’t afford wine. Over time brandy stopped being incidental to winemaking, going from a peasant pour to a sophisticated sip.


Famous as the signature ingredient in the Pisco Sour, pisco hails from the Andean region of South America with Chile and Peru both claiming to have pioneered the spirit. The differences between the two countries’ pisco making traditions are nuanced, with Peruvian pisco being typically unaged and made using only grape juice whilst Chilean pisco can be aged and it is permitted to add water during the process. Whilst pisco can be an intimidating spirit for the unacquainted, there is plenty to explore and enjoy. We’ve rounded up the best bottles on the market, breaking down the ideal bottle for each taste and use case.

Best pisco at a glance

  • Best introductory pisco: BarSol Primero Quebranta, £30.99
  • Best for complexity: BarSol Acholado, £35.94
  • Best Chilean pisco: Waqar Pisco, £40.89
  • Best for pear notes: Demonio de los Andes Pisco Acholado, £28.68
  • Best balanced pisco: La Diablada, £37.49
  • Best for floral notes: El Gobernador, £29.50
  • Best for jasmine notes: ABA Pisco, £19.99
  • Best newcomer: Macchu Pisco, £35.99
  • Best bottle: Viñas de Oro Acholado, £26.67
  • Best for bartenders: Campo de Encanto Acholado, £34.55

Best pisco to buy 2024

BarSol Primero Quebranta

Available from Amazon (£30.99), The Whiskey Exchange (£32.75)

A bottle of BarSol Primero Quebranta

Best introductory pisco

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Star rating: 5/5

Hailing from Ica in Peru, BarSol’s name was born from the ambition to bring pisco produced under the Ica sol to bars across the world. This expression is made solely using the Quebranta grape, one of the most traditional grape varieties when it comes to Peruvian pisco. The Quebranta is a non-aromatic variety, making this a fine introduction to the category as it affords the pisco a straightforward character uncomplicated by floral overtones, the palate being a melding of subtle orchard fruits and citrus.

Available from:

BarSol Acholado

Available from Amazon (£35.94), The Whiskey Exchange (£35.95)

A bottle of BarSol Acholado

Best for complexity

Star rating: 5/5

If Primero Quebranta is a recommended introduction to pisco then Acholado is the ideal next step. This expression is made using three different grape varieties as opposed to the monolithic Quebranta; though the aforementioned is 70% of the mix, the grape is joined by Italia (20%) and Torontel (10%) and nothing else - not even water is added during the process of making any BarSol pisco. The result is more bombastic and complex than the Quebranta expression with the grape notes juicier and joined by dark berries, spices and a hint of toffee.

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Waqar Pisco

Available from Master of Malt (£40.89), The Whiskey Exchange (£42.75)

A bottle of Waqar Pisco

Best Chilean pisco

Star rating: 5/5

Making a strong case for the merits of Chilean pisco is Waqar, produced in the Tulahuén Valley at the foot of the Andes. Five generations of the Camposano family have been distilling the spirit, the family hand picks the muscat grapes used to produce this pisco. The use of muscat grapes is evident on the nose and the palate with the pisco inevitably boasting the same fruity and floral character you would expect from a muscat wine; pear and citrus are at the fore ahead of punches of spice.

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Demonio de los Andes Pisco Acholado

Available from Master of Malt (£28.68), The Whiskey Exchange (£32.25)

A bottle of Demonio de los Andes Pisco Acholado

Best for pear notes

Star rating: 5/5

This pisco is named after Don Francisco de Carvajal, a Spanish military officer nicknamed The Demon of the Andes owing to his brutal reputation during Peru’s 16th Century civil wars; the thinking being that the controversial figure’s bravado and robustness is mirrored in the character of the pisco. Acholado translates in this instance as ‘mongrel’, referring to the quintet of grape varieties used (Quebranta, Albilla, Torontel, Moscatel, and Italia), the mix produces an in-your-face floral pisco with notes of rose and slices of pear at the fore.

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La Diablada

Available from Master of Malt (£37.49), Amazon (£37.49)

A bottle of La Diablada

Best balanced pisco

Star rating: 5/5

Another acholado pisco, La Diablada is named after a dance performed in the Andean region of South America, particularly in Bolivia, Peru and Chile. A mainstay of carnival celebrations, the dancers often employ elaborate costumes to perform the dance which depicts a battle between angels and devils. This pisco isn’t as tumultuous as the story of the dance and instead is made up of delicate rose and citrus notes with fresh grapes also on the palate.

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El Gobernador

Available from Master of Malt (£29.50), The Whiskey Exchange (£32.25)

A bottle of El Gobernador

Best for floral notes

Star rating: 4/5

El Gobernador is a member of the Torres family stable, the firm best known for its eponymous Spanish brandy. Having begun distillation in the Penedès region of Spain in 1928 the family expanded into Chile in 1979 and El Gobernador was born in the Limarí Valley. Deploying Rose Muscat and Muscat of Alexandria grapes, the firm uses a single distillation method devised to preserve the terpenic aromas of the grapes; the result is floral and fruity, marrying rose and lemon zest.

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ABA Pisco

Available from Master of Malt (£19.99), The Whiskey Exchange (£20.95)

A bottle of ABA Pisco

Best for jasmine notes

Star rating: 4/5

Founded in 1921 by Alberto Aguirre Taborga, we are now onto the third generation of the family at the helm of the ABA Pisquera. The firm is dedicated to traditional, artisanal methods, cutting no corners from field to bottle. Grapes are picked by hand and fermented at a low temperature in order to best preserve aromas, deepen flavours and aid in producing a smoother final product. ABA pisco is full of floral notes with jasmine dominating, the palate is also sweet with honey, all rounded off by tangerine.

Available from:

Macchu Pisco

Available from Drink Supermarket (£35.99), Amazon (£43.52)

A bottle of Macchu Pisco

Best newcomer

Star rating: 4/5

A baby in comparison to some of the more ancient pisco distilleries in this list, Macchu Pisco was founded in 2006 by the Asher sisters, Melanie and Lizzie. The former was studying at Harvard when she decided to pursue her passion for her native spirit, the motivation to sell the liquid being in her blood with her Grandmother having traded in pisco from her bodega in Lima. This expression is made using only the Quebranta grape - a well balanced tipple, the liquid is crisp with citrus and a hint of lemongrass.

Available from:

Viñas de Oro Acholado

Available from Master of Malt (£26.67), Amazon (£26.67)

A bottle of Viñas de Oro Acholado

Best bottle

Star rating: 4/5

Viñas de Oro is another pisco house situated in the Ica valley, delivering its piscos in a sleek vase like bottle you’ll want to keep hold of. A region noted for its grape cultivation, boasting an ideal soil composition, it is well shielded by the Andes mountains and the desert climate helps mitigate against the diseases that can plague crops in a wetter environment. This Acholado is made using Quebranta, Italia, and Torontel, the palate is smooth and sweet with notes of honey and herbaceous citrus.

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Campo de Encanto Acholado

Available from Master of Malt (£34.55), The Whiskey Exchange (£42.50)

A bottle of Campo de Encanto Acholado

Best for bartenders

Star rating: 4/5

The brainchild of sommelier Walter Moore, bartender Duggan McDonnell and Peruvian distiller Carlos Romero; the thinking behind this pisco is that it is by bartenders, for bartenders and as such is expectedly delicious at the base of a pisco sour. This acholado is made using Quebranta, Torontel and Italia grapes; floral and fruity on the palate, stone fruits mingle with jasmine and lemongrass for a complex and crisp sip.

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Learn how to make the perfect pisco sour.

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