Clever folks at Campo de Encanto Pisco. Not only do they have a brilliant distiller as part of their triumvirate of leadership, they also have a couple of savvy restaurant/sommelier/bartender types to give advice and guidance.
So what do you do when you already have a leading portfolio in the booming pisco craze? Listen to your most important customers and get them personally involved. Make your pisco a part of their program!
Encanto Pisco staged a highly successful Distiller’s Apprentice competition to attract the most dynamic and creative bartenders out there. Not only did they get an eager response, with lots of special drinks being promoted at bars around the country, but they also awarded the winning contestants a distillery trip to the Ica Valley of Peru, the heart of Peruvian pisco production.
And here’s where the fun began.
Most people, when told pisco is a mostly unaged clear grape brandy, think no more of it. Trouble is, that doesn’t even begin to describe Peruvian pisco, the national spirit of Peru. Pisco is enormously complex, multi-faceted, and highly regulated, both by tradition and law.
A master distiller doesn’t simply fire up a still, make some brandy, and put it in the bottle. There are many types of pisco made, and each is distinctive, with its own rules and regulations. And most piscos are fine-tuned blends of the different grape varieties to achieve a unique style.
Piscos may be made from aromatic grapes (primarily the muscat family), non-aromatic grapes, or a blend of the two in the final distillate. Pisco may also be made in the ‘mosto verde’ approach, where the grape must is not totally fermented, so as to add a velvety texture and added richness to the brandy.
But the core of a great pisco, the live and beating heart, is the fine craft of blending the different grape varieties.
When the talented winning bartenders arrive in the Val d’Ica, they were encouraged to taste each of the constituent single-variety eau-de-vie brandies on hand, and to consider what most impressed them—which elements would appeal to them in terms of using the Encanto Pisco for their bar program.
These were the exact same grape distillates that had gone into the award-winning Grand & Noble Pisco (Torontel, Quebranta, Moscatel, Mollar and Italia). When tasted separately it was immediately evident for all the bartenders that one grape in particular attracted the most attention: Torontel.
Torontel is a highly floral, lifted, aromatic variety, also known as Torrontes in Argentina, and a cousin to the moscato. With its perfumed character somewhere between lavender and violet and a slight musky and earthy element underneath, the Torontel came to dominate blend after blend devised by the apprentices. So Encanto Pisco bottled up the blend and called it Barkeep’s Whimsy!
Although composed of the same grapes as the original marque, Barkeep’s Whimsy is unique, with a strong savory element, what some call umami, which makes it a bold, full-flavored and mixable spirit.
Made by a master distiller, the Barkeep’s Whimsy is a bartender-blended delight. Put this in a barkeep’s hand and it will be the inspiration for many a creative cocktail.