What did you do before starting Duh u Boci Distillery?
Distillery Duh u Boci (meaning 'The Spirit in the Bottle' in English) was founded in 2017 by myself and co-founder Tomislav - we first met during flight training at the Croatian Air Force Academy. The name “Old Pilot’s Gin” refers to us as two old friends and pilots. I am still active pilot and I fly as an airline captain, and Tomislav is works in IT as a smart solution developer. Our distillery is our passion and getaway from everyday stress.
What made you decide to establish your gin and distillery, and what is the inspiration behind Old Pilot's Gin?
Both of us are gin and whiskey aficionados who always bring a bottle of gin or whiskey back from our journeys. Croatian juniper is well known around the world but when we started our business there were only 2 distilleries in the country that produced gin. These famous juniper berries were rarely used in Croatia. Our goal was to produce gin using both the famous juniper berries that grow on the border of the Mediterranean and continental climate and also other Croatian botanicals. Our gin is produced using the London Dry method to enhance dedication and quality.
Can you tell us about the distillation process and botanicals?
Duh u boci Distillery produces 3,000 bottles per year using our iStill. Before distillation, our botanicals are extracted into a liquid state using a water/ethanol mixture. We use combination of extracts and dried botanicals in the still, including juniper berries, sweet orange, bitter orange, sage, lavender, olive leaves and angelica.
Can you tell us more about Duh u Boci Distillery?
If we look at the size of an average European distillery we are not a 'micro distillery' but a 'nano distillery'. Our distillery is not open to the public but we certainly invite every potential client to visit us and experience the distillation process first hand. We want everyone to see that everything is done by us in our own distillery.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
The biggest challenge was finding genuine Croatian bitter orange. There are many plantations of sweet oranges but bitter orange is not planted or harvested commercially, so we had to find trees by ourselves along Croatian coast and harvest them with our own hands.
How would you describe Old Pilot's Gin in 3 words?
Smooth, earthy, creamy.
What is your favourite way to drink Old Pilot's Gin?
Neat or in the G&T with light tonic and garnished with some fresh sage and fresh orange peel.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than Old Pilot's Gin, of course)?
Sipsmith Gin and Blue Bottle Gin are always on our shelf.
What's next for Duh u boci distillery - any exciting plans?
By the end of this year we plan to launch a new gin which will have new combination of Mediterranean botanicals.