About Peruvian Spirits

About Peruvian Spirits
Pico is the signature spirit of Peru; a brandy distilled from wine grapes, it is categorized as an aguardiente. More than seven million liters is produced annually in the country.

It is distilled in copper pot stills, as in the method of single malt Scotch. Several types of grapes can be used to produce pisco; for the aromatic type (aromatica), the Muscat grape is used, while the acholado version is made from the must of several grapes.

Pure pisco, made from the Quebranta grape, is generally sipped neat, while other versions are generally used as the base for the famed Pisco sour cocktail; a few examples can also be used as a digestif. Pisco is exported in many markets, including the US; prices run from $20 up to $40 a bottle.

There are also a few premium rums produced in Peru as well; some are aged as long as 18 years and are of exceptional quality, with notes of coconut, baking spices and herbs.

Top Picks for Peru

Ron Cartavio XO Rum
96 points
Brilliant mahogany color. Woody, elegant aromas of fine furniture, soft tropical fruit, leather wallet, and warm cinnamon roll with a lightly tannic, crisp, off-dry full body and a tingling, nuanced, long caramelized nut tart, mango flan, orange caramel sauce, and vanilla bean and nutmeg finish. A rich aged rum for sweet palates.
Awards: 2017 Top 2 Best Rum, 2017 Best Aged Rum
Ron Cartavio 12 Year Old Solera Rum
93 points
$42
Bright copper color. Sweet, tropical aromas of vanilla, champagne cola, bananas and cream, and cigar box with a round, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, delightful, medium-length honeyed fruit salad, Hawaiian rolls, and saffron finish. A silky, elegant dark rum with sexy, enticing wood spice flavors.
Ron Cartavio Selecto Rum
92 points
Pale copper color. Fruity aromas and flavors of stewed pineapple and brownie batter with a lean, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a peppery, medium-length graham cracker, roasted caramelized nuts, and tiramisu finish. A charming rum for the masses.
Ron Cartavio Black Barrel Rum
90 points
$10
Best Buy
Dark copper color. Aromas of dried mango, nut skins, caramel sauce, and coriander with an oily, soft, dryish medium-full body and a tingling, charming, medium-length suede, spiced apple cider, prunes, and Chinese 5 spice finish. A savory rum for sipping or craft cocktails.
90 points $10 Best Buy
Santiago Queirolo Pisco Quebranta
89 points
$20
Best Buy
Clear color. Interesting aromas and flavors of frosted raisin bran, sour cream and onion potato chip, and French bread with a supple, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a peppery, intriguing, medium-length finish revealing notes of flower water, white chocolate orange, pepper, and minerals. A warming pisco for punches.
89 points $20 Best Buy
Ron Cartavio Silver Rum
88 points
Clear color. Clean aromas of coconut powder, fresh laundry, and toasted nuts with a satiny, crisp, dry light body and a breezy coconut powder, dried starfruit, and light caramel finish. A soft rum for daytime daiquiris.
Santiago Queirolo Pisco Acholado
88 points
$20
Best Buy
Clear color. Lively aromas and flavors of apricot pastry, buttercream, cucumber salad, and celery salt on potato with a supple, bright, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, stimulating, breezy finish evoking touches of nougat, fig, and lemon pepper. A pleasant, easy drinking pisco that will be good in cocktails.
88 points $20 Best Buy
Ron Cartavio Black Rum
87 points
$15
Best Buy
Golden amber color. Nutty aromas of almond shells, cinnamon sugar, fluffy nougat, and greenhouse plants with a supple, soft, off-dry light-to-medium body and a warming, snappy caramelized pineapple and coconut bar finish. An easy-going dark rum.
87 points $15 Best Buy
Santiago Queirolo Pisco Quebranta
86 points
$24.99
Clear color. Delicate, interesting, savory aromas of pickled green tomatoes, golden raisins, champagne vinaigrette, and dried banana and edamame with a satiny, lively, fruity medium body and a peppery, intriguing, medium-length reduced orange, pickled melon rind and peppers, honey, and pepper finish. A fun, zesty, savory pisco with interesting salinity that will cover a lot of bases cocktail-wise.
86 points $24.99
Ron Cartavio Superior Rum
84 points
$8
Bright gold color. Mild, roasted aromas and flavors of nuts, fruity caramel, and pistachio nougat with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length mocha fudge, spiced nuts, banana creme brulee, and oak finish. A good gold rum with a robust, well balanced flavor profile.