Croatian Distilleries Take Home Numerous IWSC London Awards

Lauren Simmonds

croatian distilleries

June the 7th, 2024 – Croatian distilleries have taken home numerous awards and plenty of recognition from London’s IWSC. From Vrgorac gin to Slavonian brandy – a deeper look.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/VL/Zoran Vitas writes, Croatian distilleries enjoyed an excellent performance at the IWSC, International Wine and Spirits Competition in London. As many as 25 medals from the prestigious competition were taken back to Croatia, and two of them were the highest possible – Gold Outstanding.

This means that Croatian distilleries left a special impression on the jury, whose hundred members came together in the iconic British capital, compared to the others in the competition. In the stone fruit brandy (rakija) category, the Gold Outstanding medal was won by Viljamovka of the Šimić distillery from Požega in Slavonia, achieving 98 points.

“Deliciously bold, with a strong punch of ripe apricot right on the nose, complemented by the subtle uniqueness of fermentation. The palate is offered clear notes of apricot with a hint of pepper, leading to a long, spicy finish,” the jury claimed. The same distinction went to the brandy Martin Albus from Lješnjak PP Orahovica, which achieved a higher score (99) in the nut brandy category.

“Indulge in the essence of hazelnut intertwined with rich cocoa and fresh citrus. Perfectly judged sweetness and harmoniously integrated alcohol carry complex layers of flavour, supported by a rich truffle base with plenty of freshly cracked hazelnut. There’s a rich intensity like a chocolate spread without too much bitterness or sugar, before a harmonious, long-lasting finish”, the jury said about the distillate from Orahovica.

More roaring success for Croatian distilleries from Slavonia soon arrived, as brandy Jedna dujja ​​Obrta Romić from Osijek achieved 95 points in the fruit with seeds category and also received gold. “Fruit and peppery aromas lead to a palate full of orchard fruit and baking spices. Light notes of wild honey balance the tannic fruit, culminating in a long, satisfying, floral finish,” says the jury for this rich Slavonian brandy.

Gold was also won in the category of classic gins. It was taken home by the Poetica distillery from Vrgorac with 96 points, which is one point higher than Old Pilot’s rating from back 2019 in the same competition. That means that we now have the new best-rated Croatian gin in history.

“Green cardamom and Indian spices, with hints of citrus. The powerful palate is perfectly balanced with the wonderful complexity of cardamom which is very well integrated. Its character shines with the addition of water”, praised the judges for the gin that comes from the Dalmatian hinterland.

Both Croatian distilleries also won silver medals, and were very close to taking home gold. Obrt Romić received 93 points for its One Apple Barrique, and 90 points for its One Grape Muscat Barrique. Poetica scored 91 points for its Limited Barrel Aged Old Tom Gin aged in thorn barrels of the Gašpar winery, 92 for its Olive infused Gin infused with Brač olives, 90 for its Summer Bonnet Gin infused with the famous Vrgorac strawberries. The Šimić distillery also received 94 points for its Šljivovica and 90 points for its impressive Viljamovka.

There is also an interesting cultural phenomenon in this the whole story – Krka Monastery won three silvers for its brandies – Loza took home 91 points, Loza Mediterraneo was awarded 91 points, and Loza Travarica enjoyed 90 points.

Let’s round off the story of the success of Croatian distilleries with the winning of silver with two more gins. The Gavran distillery received 91 points for its Raven’s London Dry Gin, and 90 points went to Edelweisser for its Velebit Infused Gin. The fact that Croatia has become quite the force in gin making has also been evidenced by the six bronze medals that Croatian distilleries have duly received.

It’s also interesting to note that the Edelweisser distillery received two awards for its Dalmatian Dry Gin, bronze in the category of classic gins, and silver in the category of mixtures where gins are mixed with excellent Franklin & Sons tonic. Bronzes were also awarded to the Vislander winery and distillery for its Issa Citrus Dry Gin, the Brač distillery s778 Heritage was awarded for its London Dry Gin, as was the K Distillery from Vojnić for its own London Dry Gin.

The bronze went to the Old Gods Distillery for its Svarin London Dry Gin and to the Blazar Tech distillery for The Code Gin. Distillery Šimić took home bronze for its Dunjevaca Barrique, and Šušnjar did the same for its Šljivovica.

Quite remarkably, Croatia didn’t take home gold in the wine section this year, but there were 10 medals won, including two silvers won by Agrolaguna for its Festigia Malvazija Istrian vintage 2023, and for Festigia Blanc De Moi Brut 2017 sparkling wine.


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