Recently we had the opportunity to talk with Polona, the Marketing Director from Broken Bones, to talk about the origins of their gin, their process, and what really sets them apart from other Slovenian gins.
The Origins Of Broken Bones Gin
Starting out, we wanted to know how they started in the gin business. Polona told us that of their three co-founders, Borut and Bostjan began experimenting with Whisky back in 2012. Over the years they developed and tested different recipes and styles, before settling on one after five years of trials. Around this time, the three co-founders went to a whisky show in London to taste some of the varying styles available. However, what really stood out to them was most whisky makers at the show also offered gin. And despite sampling a number of whiskies, it was the gins that they fell in love with. So, the three co-founders decided to go back to Slovenia and begin working on a gin.
Polona detailed her background in the spirits business, pointing out that she had spent much of her young life on a vineyard. Eventually, she inherited the family vineyard and become a certified vine taster. Borut, the second co-founder, had spent years both importing spirits and distilling his own. And Bostjan, the third co-founder, is also a vine taster and also has a degree in both distilling whisky and brewing beer. Together, as Polona points out, could pool their background in alcohol and distilling to focus on the creation of a new gin.
According to Polona, by May of 2018 Broken Bones had not only perfected their London Dry Gin, but they offered it at the first annual Gin & Tonic Week-End in Portoroz (which is located on the Slovene coast). The favorable response was all Broken Bones needed to dedicate itself completely to the production of gin.
Off And Running
Every distillery has an origin story, but it is the botanicals used during production that truly sets companies like Broken Bones apart. We wanted to get to the heart of what makes Broken Bones different from not only other gins around the world but also regional gins.
Polona pointed out that all three of the co-founders hailed from different backgrounds, including software engineering, marketing, and a philosopher. With the three varying backgrounds and family lives, each had developed a slightly different pallet. The one connecting threat they had was their families came from a lineage of vine and spirit producers. All three knew they wanted to pull from this heritage and incorporate it into the gin. They also wanted to use local and regional botanicals from the Slovene Karst region.
As they considered the botanical recipe both Borut and Bostjan designed the still. By keeping the construction of the still in-house it ensured everything the gin was made of and touched came from Slovene. This included the botanicals they settled on, including juniper and rosehip from the Slovene Karst region, and linden flowers (which grow from the national tree of Slovene).
These botanicals become the foundation of not only Broken Bones’ London Dry Gin, but their Navy Strength Gin and Ljubljana Dragon Gin.
The Continued Development of Broken Bones’ Gin
Polona discussed Broken Bones’ current gin lineup. It did originally start with their London Dry Gin, which went on to be awarded the Best Slovene London Dry Gin at the World Gin Awards in 2019. The same year, Broken Bones was awarded the winner of the Navy Strength Class from the Gin Guide Awards, 2019.
They have also bee recognized as the Best Slovenia gin by the 2020 World Gin Awards. Broken Bones looks forward to continued competition and competing in future gin awards.
After the initial two gins, Polona discussed their move to produce both Ljubljana Dragon Gin and their Sloe Gin. They wanted to make their Sloe Gin different, so they raised the alcohol content to 35% (which is more than the average bottle of sloe gin). It also has less sugar, so the sweetness isn’t as dominant. Polona also talked about their Ljubljana Dragon Gin, which is a take of the company’s award-winning London Dry Gin but with ginger added after the distillation process. By adding the separately distilled gin it helps ensure the ginger taste is more dominant and noticeable (had it been included during distillation it would have mellowed and potentially changed the fundamental characteristics of the other botanicals).
With Broken Bones’ original focus on whisky, it is important to the distillers to have an excellent sipping gin. It needs to be enjoyed neat for the full flavor to come alive. Once this occurs they will then focus on how it can be used to craft the perfect cocktail.
However, while those are the three gins currently available Polona did discuss some of their future plans. This includes a Broken Bones Old Tom Gin. This gin, which is another classically produced gin, uses linden flower honey to add a sweetness element to the gin. It very much will taste like their London Dry Gin but with this added subtle hint of flower honey.
Keep An Eye Open For Additional Spirits From Broken Bones
Polona wants fans of Broken Bones to remember they did start out with creating whisky. It just takes time for the whisky to age. The first batch (aged 36-months) should come out later in 2020, with future, longer-aged whiskies, coming out in the years to come.