Inspired by Heritage, Guided by Science | Old Pilot’s Gin

06 Nov 2020
3 min read
Launched in 2018, Old Pilot’s Gin is a  Croatian craft gin produced at Duh u Boci (‘The Spirit in the Bottle’) Distillery in Zagreb. Founded by two former pilots turned friends and now business partners, the duo bring their passion for creating the finest spirits to life with their award-winning gin.

The name ‘Old Pilot’s Gin’ references the owners and co-founders of Duh u Boci Distillery, Hrvoje Busic and Tomislav Anadolac, who met and became friends when training at the Croatian Air Force Academy. After their retirement from the military, the pair teamed up to create something special from their shared love of fine spirits. What was initially a hobby soon became an exciting business venture and Old Pilot’s Gin was born: a hand-crafted, world-class gin made using only the best ingredients.

The entire production process is centered around producing premium quality spirits, and that is why every step is carried out in-house and by hand, including distillation and maturation, bottling, labelling and finally, the individual wax sealing of the bottles. This makes every bottle of Old Pilot’s Gin a truly unique and very prized possession.

“Our big dream has finally come true through a small batch distillery, where everything from distillation and aging to bottling and sealing is done by our own hands. Exceptional quality, unique flavours, local authenticity and unwillingness to compromise are the main reasons why we are so proud of every bottle that comes off our still.”

The distinct flavor profile of the gin is achieved through the use of a special selection of all-natural botanicals sourced from certified local herb growers, and includes hand-picked juniper berries from Otočac; sweet and bitter orange peel and lavender from the Croatian islands and Neretva river; sage and olive leaves from Velebit mountain and Biokovo; as well as angelica from Bjelovar. The use of Mediterranean and Croatian produce and barrels sourced from local cooparges keeps the gin tied to its roots.

The distillery produces two different gins, a London Dry Gin and a Barrel Aged Gin. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology for preparation and distillation, the resultant products are high in quality, showcasing an incredibly smooth yet flavorful spirit without harsh alcohol aromas.

London Dry Gin:

ALC.VOL.: 45 %

The quintessential example of a Croatian “craft” spirit, and voted the Best Croatian Craft Gin in 2018 and 2019. The original Old Pilot’s London Dry Gin is infused with hand-picked, wild Croatian botanicals and distilled with a special technique to preserve botanical oils without the dominant alcohol notes. Bottled without cold filtration.

Nose: Fresh juniper berries, complemented by earthy notes and Mediterranean sage.
Palate: Pleasant earthy notes combined with sage and citrus.
Finish: A long dry, earthy finish with hints of sage and olive leaves.

Barrel Aged Gin – Limited Edition:

ALC.VOL.: 45,5 %

Old Pilot’s special edition gin that is rested in first fill Croatian and American oak barrels. Botanical ratios are slightly different to the London Dry Gin, but all six of the hand-picked botanicals from the Mediterranean and continental part of Croatia are still used. After distillation, the gin is rested in five different barrels. Each barrel differs by volume, type of oak, toasting/charring levels and preparation, thereby giving its own signature and complexity to the final spirit.

The American oak gives sweetness, vanilla and smokiness, while Croatian oak builds pleasant bitterness and dry fruit. This unique flavor makes Barrel Aged Old Pilot’s Gin perfect for cocktails, especially those usually mixed with whiskey as the aging makes the border between whiskey and gin fade away. Find some great Old Pilot’s Gin cocktail recipes here.

Nose: Sweet juniper, oranges and ripe apricots.
Palate: Subtle juniper and round vanilla with dry fruit.
Finish: Long and spicy with smoke at the back.

“Distillery Duh u Boci is focused on producing premium quality spirits. Our process, selected botanicals and unique distillation technology allow us to produce only high quality spirits. We are not a high volume distillery. We are small batch distillery and everything from distillation to bottling is done by us and in our very own distillery. Quality and authenticity without compromises.”

“There are easier ways to produce spirits. Extracts, faster distillation, smaller cuts… but that’s not us. We only use the heart distillate, cutting out bad alcohols at the beginning and at the end of the distillation process. We are proud of every bottle that comes out of our distillery. Premium quality, every time.”

This devotion to excellence has led Old Pilot’s Gin to be awarded with a host of awards. Most recently, at the 2019 International Wine & Spirits Competition in London, their London Dry Gin was voted best in the world.

To find out more about Old Pilot’s Gin and shop their product range online, visit their website, Instagram profile or Facebook page.