Blackwood Spirits is a micro - make that nano - distillery located in Hout Bay. Operating from a converted storeroom at our home, each step in our process, from sourcing high quality and, where possible, local raw materials (including diving for the kelp), to the distilling, bottling and labelling is done by hand. Our small batches are created with care and attention as our aim is to create distinct and unique products for your enjoyment.

Blackwood Spirits - the distillery is named after the road we live on - was started by wife and husband team Helene & Guido Zsilavecz as a hobby. Both of us tried our hand at making wines, beers and liqueurs just for fun, but we realized that taking these to a commercial level would not be easy: the number of wine estates listed in Platter's wine guide each year just keeps on growing, and the craft beer market seems saturated. A trip to southern Austria, where there is a tradition of a post-meal digestive schnapps piqued our interest. The magical alchemy of distilling, which allows for such a wide array of truly wonderful products from an equally wide array of raw material, captured our imagination and we were quickly hooked on trying out different things. Distilling itself is a fascinating process - each time we see the first drops of distillate come out of the condenser on a run remains just as exciting as when we first saw it when we unboxed and quickly set up our glass still on the kitchen counter years ago.
Our initial plan was to make grappa - known as husk spirit in South Africa - as well as other digestifs. Our first steps into gin started after we did a course in distilling and we realized that gin is actually a fascinating product to make. Using a 5 liter glass still we started experimenting with different recipes, only to discover than coming up with a good one, especially after some disastrous results, was not a trivial problem. In the process of fine-tuning our gin recipes we learned the art of distilling, and now also make grappa from pomace sourced from a local winery, as well as small batches of various eau de vie's and liquors.
Our first gin, in a London Dry style, is an adaptation inspired by an old Dutch recipe from the 1950's we found during our research.
Our second gin stems from our love for nature. Both of us SCUBA dive, and our connection to the oceans was the driving force to develop a gin that reminds us of our wild coastline. One of the distinctive elements in Cape Town waters is kelp. Somewhat unknown as a food source locally, we decided to experiment adding it as a key botanical to our gin. We liked the result, and thus our Cape Kelp Gin was born.
Whilst our distillery is not open to the public please contact us us should you have any queries or wish to purchase any of our products.

Blackwood Spirits London Dry Gin

Double Gold 2021 SA Craft Gin Awards

Double Gold 2020 Michelangelo Awards

Blackwood Spirits London Dry Gin, distilled in Hout Bay, is an adaptation inspired by an old Dutch recipe from the 1950’s.
It is a hand crafted classic gin using just six botanicals and distilled in the traditional one-shot method producing a dry gin with a fresh citrus finish.
Delicious as a gin and tonic. Add orange zest for a refreshing summer drink and for a warmer winter drink add a stick of cinnamon.
To purchase, please view our stockists.


Blackwood Spirits Cape Kelp Gin

Gold: 2020 SA Craft Gin Awards

Gold: 2021 Michelangelo Awards

Gold: 2021 SA Women's Wine and Spirits Awards

Blackwood Spirits Cape Kelp Gin, distilled in Hout Bay, was inspired by the Cape coast.
It is a unique hand crafted Cape gin which captures the essence of the wild oceans that surround us. A key botanical is Laminaria pallida kelp, giving it a distinct savoury flavour and aroma reminiscent of a walk on the beach after a classic Cape storm.
The kelp is harvested by freediving for it by the distillers. The unusual green/gold colour of the gin is derived from infusing kelp in some of the gin, then carefully blending that back to ensure a consistent flavour profile. This colour is completely natural and may vary in intensity from batch to batch. It may also fade slightly over time.
Delicious as a gin and tonic, a perfect garnish is a brined olive or two and some fresh rosemary. It is also smooth enough to be served neat over a large block of ice and as a dirty martini.
To purchase, please view our stockists.


Blackwood Spirits Old Tom Gin

Old Tom Gin is a sweeter style of gin popular in 18th century London. Historically this style of gin was sweetened to mask the truly horrible flavour of the base spirit. By the 19th century distilling methods had improved and Old Tom simply came to mean a sweetened, heavier style of gin.
Using modern distilling methods our Old Tom Gin has been crafted based on research on methods and tools available around at the time. At the time Old Tom gin was being made there were no glass bottles so gin was generally transported in a variety of casks or barrels from distillery to pub. As a nod to this our Old Tom has been lightly rested in oak which has imparted a sweeter vanilla note. This, together with the addition of liquorish and cinnamon, has enhanced the subtle sweetness. Additional spices have been added to make this a smooth aromatic tipple.
A sipping gin on its own, the addition of a large block of ice and twist of orange brings out the aromatic flavours. A splash of tonic or soda water is also highly recommended. Alternatively add ginger beer – adds an extra dimension to the aromatic flavours
To purchase, please view our stockists.


Blackwood Spirits Husk Spirit (Grappa)

We produce two versions of grappa: a 100% Pinot Noir version, and a blended one with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Blackwood Spirits Husk Spirit (Grappa): Pinot Noir

Using only Pinot Noir grapes this version is closer to the Italian grappa's in style, with a strong and intense flavour - just the right thing for the grappa connoisseur!

Blackwood Spirits Husk Spirit (Grappa): Pinot Noir / Chardonnay

The addition of some Chardonnay creates a softer, more approachable, but equally delicious grappa.

Gold: 2021 Michelangelo Awards

Gold: 2021 SA Women's Wine and Spirits Awards

There is no better way to end a good meal like this: a small bite of dark chocolate, slowly dissolved by a sip of hot espresso, followed by a sip of grappa - heaven! No wonder Italians are such happy people!
To see how we make our grappa, we've made a video explaining how we do it.
To purchase, please contact us directly.


Made By Me bathtub gin kit by Blackwood

Craft your own gin!
The Made By Me kit contains all you need to create two different gins: the base spirit, the equipment, the botanicals and detailed instructions.
Making your own gin is both easy and fun - all it takes a bit of time, a bit of space, and some enthusiasm. The botanicals included allow you to make two very different gins, both of which are delicious, but of course you can play around with the recipe to discover for yourself how the different botanicals, and the quantity used, impacts the flavour of the final product.
For more details, click here
To purchase, please contact us directly.


Blackwood Spirits "bubbler" pourer

Our unique pourer adds sophistication to making a drink - not only because it just looks good, but also because it measures a perfect tot.
Due to limited numbers our pourers are only sold in conjunction with one of our bottles of gin or grappa.
For more details, click here. To see how it works we made a short video .
To purchase, please contact us directly.

Please contact us via email if you wish to purchase any of our products:

helene@blackwoodspirits.com

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Discover the attractions of Hout Bay in the on-line Discover Hout Bay - A Foodie Experience booklet.

There you can find us on page 78, or otherwise on the Discover Hout Bay website.

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Blackwood Spirits Distillery, Hout Bay, South Africa