Whether or not Pisco was Peruvian was never previously discussed. It was simply a given. The tiresome, dry and not very well defined argument about whether or not Pisco is from Peru is a more recent phenomenon. The Chileans argue that if they had not industrialized and exported their firewater in the proportion that they do (and there is no way to negate this), it is posible that we never would have had the least concern about it. It’s a possibility.
Pisco’s Document of National Identity
Although Dr. Cesar Angeles has retired from the academic life, he has not left study and research, his life-long passion. According to the title of this article, one would expect him to be an oenologist, or at least an eminent pisco-drinker. However, we find an academic who finds refuge in a sea of knowledge rather than firewaters, in books, rather than distilled grapes. His location is in a prodigious library, not a distillery.
However, he is the undeniable “Dr. Pisco,” as his knowledge has given us the best resources in order to feel more proud than ever of our “silver elixir.” He has a doctorate in literature and journalism, is the former dean and founding president of the San Luis Gonzaga de Ica National University, where he is president emeritus today. He is not from Ica, as we would expect, but from Ancash. “From Caraz, sweety; perhaps that is why I am diabetic,” he laughs quietly, as if he were laughing on the inside.
What has been Dr. Pisco’s contribution to our national culture? Everything began in 1969, eight years after he visited Ica for the first time, as the dean of the Department of Education. He had proposed research regarding everything that was representative of Ica, and he began with the area’s literature. “I have written about, since that year, Peruvian literature by each department in the country.” While developing his bibliography, he ran into a Chilean magazine “Hechos Mundiales” and he saw inside the magazine a picture of a bottle of Chilean firewater that said “Pisco Valley of Elqui.” He became upset and decided instead to investigate the “Peruvianness” of Pisco.
But his proposal did not follow the paths which had been taken with international organizations in order to defend Peru. “How can I prove that Pisco is Peruvian? I asked myself. It was very simple; I would demonstrate that the word “Pisco” is a Peruvian word.”
Up until that point, there was no scandal regarding Pisco. As a professor of the course of Investigative Methods (and author of the manual that is used in all universities for many years), one had to state the hypothesis of the case. “Just like the National Document of Identity (DNI) describes you and gives you an identity, the DNI of Peruvian firewater is the word Pisco. Those Peruvians among us that want to fight with Chile are silly. The only thing that we need to do is demonstrate that the word Pisco is, in fact, Peruvian.
Written By: Manuel Cadenas Mujica