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Pisco El Gobernador

Review: Pisco El Gobernador (Miguel Torres Chile)   83/100
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka The Rum Howler)
Published on October 12, 2014

Pacific Wines and Spirits are the local distributors of the Miguel Torres brand in Western Canada, and they provided me with much of the background information for this review. Miguel Torres is well-known for their wine and brandy production in Spain (having produced wine for more close to 150 years and having owned vineyards for more than 300 years).

Miguel Torres Chile was founded in 1979 by the Torres family. After a search for a suitable location found them a 100 hectare vineyard near the Andes Mountains, as well as cellar near the City of Curicó, the company began the work of producing their new Chilean wine. Their holdings in Chile have increased over time, and the company now has over 400 hectares in production on six different properties. Recently the company introduced their new Pisco El Gobernador (translation: the Governor), a distilled brandy (produced upon tradition copper pot stills) made from an equal mixture of Moscatel de Alejandra and Moscatel Rosada grape varietals. The final spirit is stored (or rested) for up to one year in stainless steel tanks after which it is filtered clear and then bottled.

Note: Pisco, for those who are unfamiliar with the spirit, is a style of brandy made in both Chile and Peru. It was developed by early Spanish settlers in sixteenth century.  Although the spirit is sipped neat by some (especially in Chile and Peru), it is for most a cocktail spirit, and indeed the press information supplied to me when I received my sample bottle indicated that the El Gobernador is intended primarily for use in cocktails.

Gobernador SAM_1296In the Bottle 4/5

As you can see from the picture to the left, the El Gobernado bottle is a medium-tall, long-necked, rectangular bottle designed for the bar trade. The lime green label on the front catches the eye, and if you read the part of the label which is wrapped around the side of the bottle it provides a little background information as it presents the story of the Governor of Ovalle, Philipe Margutt Donaire (for whom this Pisco is named). The presentation is crowned with a wooden topped cork topper.

In the Glass  8.5/10

Although Pisco El Gobernador is primarily intended to be a cocktail spirit, for the purpose of obtaining nosing and tasting notes I poured out a small sample into a glencairn glass. When I brought the glass to my nose, I noticed the breezes above the glass were tinged with a candied fruitiness which held a strong influences of green grapes, and milder influences of orange peel, dry apricots and canned peaches. Within the candied, fruit-like scents there was also a mild agave-like accent which featured the light, but distinctive aroma of white pepper and a very mild earthy agave fruit scent which reminds me of steamed squash and grilled eggplant.

I find the spirit pleasant to nose although there are perhaps a few mildly sharp warnings in the breezes which remind me that the spirit is young and is indeed more likely destined for a cocktail than my sipping glass.

In the Mouth 50/60

When I brought the spirit to my mouth and took a sip. I wa reminded of fresh green grapes dusted with white chocolate as the initial entry of the spirit supplies a brief burst of sweetened fruit and a mildly intense sweetness. The intensity of the green grape quickly faded and flavours of ripe pear, banana and orange peel followed through the mid palate. There were hints of menthol and anise lurking in the shadows and perhaps just a hint of fruity agave influences the flavour profile as well. The youthfulness of the spirit is on full display as the spirit brings forward a touch of peppery tequila-like heat although I sense that the youthful vibrancy has been muted (or maybe tempered is a better way of saying it) perhaps by the one year resting period in those stainless steel tanks. (Note: there is no agave used in the production of El Gobernador, however the tequila-like descriptor is accurate for relating to you the reader, what I perceive in the flavour profile of the spirit.)

The flavours I have tasted are not necessarily typical of a European style brandy, and what a I perceived as a hint of tequila-like freshness within the spirit was very appealing. Having said that, it is true that it was in the cocktail format that I found my greatest pleasure with this spirit. (I have shared my favoured recipe below.)

In the Throat 12.5/15

El Gobernador finishes with a bit of peppery heat combined with earthy flavours of grilled plantain and butternut squash. The mouth heats up after the swallow and there is a lingering aftertaste of mild agave.

The Afterburn 8/10

The temptation I had throughout this review was to score each section a little higher every time I tasted the Chilean Brandy. Pisco El Gorenador has an interesting (and beguiling) flavour which grows on you as you return to the bottle each time. And, in fact, I did bump the scores In the Mouth, and In the Throat to account for this. I settled on a final score of 83/100 which according to my scoring system represents a stellar mixer which can occasionally be enjoyed as a sipper.

You may click this link to read some of my other Brandy Reviews

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Suggested Recipe

Pisco Sour SAM_1295It was suggested to me that the Pisco Sour is a traditional cocktail enjoyed by enthusiasts of the spirit. Here is a sour recipe which I found very enjoyable as a sipping cocktail.

Pisco Lime Sour

1 3/4 oz Pisco El Gobernador
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Sugar syrup (1:1)
ice
Lime slice

Build in a rocks glass over ice
Stir well
Garnish with a slice of lime

Please enjoy responsibly!

Note: If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the score as follows:

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:

70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 
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