Bombay Sapphire

Few liquors in the world are as easily recognisable as Bombay Sapphire, with its iconic sapphire blue bottle and unique emblem on the label, ask any casual drinker or even a professional gin sommelier and they will more than likely recommend Bombay Sapphire.

Origin Of Bombay Sapphire

The story of Bombay Sapphire is deeply rooted within the pre-colonial days of old England. In 1761, Thomas Dakin purchased a distillery in Warrington, a town located in Cheshire, England and as such established one of the world’s firsts distilleries outside of London. Bombay Sapphire was not the creation of Thomas Dakin, but he is credited for making and manufacturing Warrington Gin, and over the years the Dakin family further sought to perfect their gin recipe. Constantly adapting their distillation methods to new technologies and inventions, the Dakin family finally sold their distillery to famed brewers Gilbert and John Greenall, owners of the distilling empire that till this day remains one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of white spirits.

By the 1950’s, a man by the name of Alain Subin collaborated with Greenall distilleries to relaunch the Warrington Gin for the American market, hoping to capitalise on the sudden demand for gin-based drinks. He had high hopes for the brand and created a new name and revamped its identity, calling it Bombay Dry Gin. As the 1980s came to an end however, gin was losing out to its older, more menacing brother – vodka.

It was then that the man behind the Absolut Vodka brand, Michel Roux seized the opportunity to once again reintroduce gin to the public, providing the same premium treatment as the Absolut brand. He then marketed the iconic liquor in its even more iconic sapphire blue bottle, creating the image we all know and instantly recognise today, making it one of the most famous liquors ever created. No other gin had the same look, or its undoubtedly unique taste.

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The Sapphire

The “sapphire” in its name is debatably inspired by the breathtaking 182-carat star sapphire jewel found in Sri Lanka, known as the Star of Bombay. The name Bombay Sapphire has also been considered by many to be a reference to the popularity of gin during the rule of the British Empire in India, with the label on the bottle having a portrait of Queen Victoria, once the Empress of India.

The blue bottle design is one that is unique not only to the liquor industry but also equally unique in the world of design, and it is known that the Bombay Sapphire brand is an ardent supporter of the global design community, often collaborating with many top artists and architects. The role that Bombay Sapphire played in introducing gin to entire generations of people cannot be overstated, as it is a drink that is now enjoyed by many.

Bombay Sapphire Ingredients

While the presentation of an alcoholic drink is important, its taste is arguably even more crucial. Bombay Sapphire has always been transparent about the ingredients used in its production, even clearly labelling the botanicals used on its bottles. A distinct gin, it uses surprisingly international ingredients including Italian juniper berries, Spanish almonds and lemons, Chinese licorice and cassia bark, and the aptly-named West African grains of paradise which has a black pepper-like flavour with hints of citrus, which contributes to the gin’s unique flavours.

This creates a blend of botanical flavours that while individually may be overpowering, works together in harmony for a taste that is exquisitely smooth yet crisp. On the nose, the scent of lemon dominates the senses with a strong alcoholic hint and subtle notes of floral and fruity characters playing in the background, setting it apart from traditional London Dry gins. On the palate, the gin starts off slow and mild, with light flavours slowly blooming open. As it coats the entire mouth, each of the individual botanicals’ flavours bursts open, with the slight spice of lemon, the floral notes of juniper and earthiness from its root ingredients coming into play. Its bolder finish retains the brightness in the spirit, as the heat from the alcohol and balanced citrus shines through. A classic gin with surprising twists, it is a taste not quite like any other.

Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic

Bombay Sapphire is bottled at 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume, and only the boldest drink it neat. Which is why this is a spirit perfect for mixing in cocktails, such as the classic Gin & Tonic. You will only need three ingredients for this cocktail, 50 ml of Bombay Sapphire, 100 ml of Premium tonic water and a lime wedge. To make it, pour the Bombay Sapphire over ice and squeeze the lime wedge over it, adding the wedge itself and stirring it. To finish, pour in chilled tonic water and that is all you need to enjoy a classic Gin & Tonic.

Buying a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin in Malaysia is relatively easy, as most retail outlets sell it at a price between RM 230 to RM 300. An incredibly popular brand, Bombay Sapphire is a name ubiquitous to gin and is one of the world’s most famous spirits, just be sure to enjoy it responsibly!

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