Bombay Sapphire’s name originates from the gin's popularity in India during the British Raj and the sapphire in question is the Star of Bombay on display at the Smithsonian Institution. Bombay Sapphire is marketed in a flat-sided, sapphire-coloured bottle that bearing a picture of Queen Victoria on the label.
The gin is based on a secret recipe that dates back to 1761. The 10 botanicals used to create Bombay Sapphire are far from secret - they are pictured on every bottle - but what is secret is the exact quantity of each botanical used to achieve the perfectly balanced taste.
The Bombay Sapphire recipe is based on one of the earliest recorded recipes for a premium quality London Dry gin, originally created in the north-west of England in 1761, the secret recipe has been passed down from generation to generation ever since.
The creation of Bombay Sapphire gin is truly unique. There are only a few Carterhead stills remaining in the world today and three are exclusive to Bombay Sapphire. Unlike many other gins, which boil their botanicals directly in the spirit to achieve their taste, the 10 botanicals in Bombay Sapphire are held separate from the spirit in a perforated copper basket. The Carterhead stills remove any last impurities in the spirit vapour before it passes up through the basket and in a process known as vapour infusion it is delicately infused with the aromatic flavours of the botanicals. The result is a complex and refined taste.
The 10 botanicals:
Strong, fresh liquorice roots from China add depth to the lighter flavours of the other botanicals. Only the finest root is used in the distillation process, accentuating this cool and highly distinctive aspect.
Spanish almonds are ground to release their precious oils, which are then refined and added to the other botanicals. A clean, rich taste is brought to the mix and more than a hint of nuttiness adds strength to the overall spirit.
Spanish Lemon Peel
We use only the juiciest Spanish lemons, selecting the finest peel to add a delicate, bittersweet flavour which has the freshness and subtlety to lift the aromas of the rest of the botanicals and help create a distinctive citrus flavour.
Italian Juniper Berries
The best Italian juniper berries from Tuscany add the scent and taste of pine cones, lavender and camphor to the botanical mix. This is the ingredient that gives Bombay Sapphire gin its dry, fragrant taste.
Italian Orris Root
Orris root adds the scent and smell of violets and a sense of the warm earth of Italy. It adds an exotic fragrance and helps bind together the other flavours.
The ground root of the angelica plant is added to help emphasise and complement the flavours of the other botanicals. Its dry, pine kernel flavour helps to hold the botanicals together, enhancing subtlety and adding a long after-taste.
The finest coriander seeds are sourced fresh from Morocco and ground down to release their complex blend of citrus and spice: more than a suggestion of lemons and oranges, but mellowed and rounded by a ginger-like spice.
Indo-Chinese Cassia Bark
The tropics of Indo-China are the source of the delicately flavoured bark of the cassia tree. Its light cinnamon flavour adds a warm hint of spice and a touch of sweetness to the botanical mix.
Javanese Cubeb Berries
One of the particularly special botanicals used, fresh from Java, the climbing cubeb plant bears strong smelling berries which, when crushed and infused into the spirit add a fresh pine flavour and light peppery notes.
West African Grains of Paradise
An exceptionally special botanical, these West African grains combine a peppery bite and a light lavender nose with chocolate for that touch of luxury and orange to highlight and accentuate the citrus. In short, they add a spicy, exotic quality to the spirit.
Bombay Sapphire gin has a ripe citrus aroma with rounded spice and a touch of juniper.
Taste Bombay Sapphire and at first the exceptionally smooth spirit is light and crisp. As it begins to fill the mouth the hidden complexity of the spirit is revealed as the harmonious notes of the 10 perfectly balanced botanicals are released.
These fresh, 100% natural flavours combine to create a gentle, aromatic taste layered with zesty citrus, delicate nutty oils, rich exotic spices and a hint of sweetness before ending with light lavender notes and a long peppery finish.
Sources: bombaysapphie.com, wikepedia.org