Bombay Sapphire unveils new super-premium gin

Star of Bombay gin

Bombay Sapphire has launched a new super-premium expression, Star of Bombay, enhancing the gin with a recipe using extra botanicals.

Available in the UK from May, the new variant is made with the same eight botanicals – juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orris, angelica, almonds, liquorice and cassia bark – but with some used in different proportions.

It also adds two new botanicals: gently dried bergamot orange peel from the mountains of Calabria in southern Italy and aromatic ambrette seeds from Ecuador in South America. The result is a smooth gin that opens with light citrus but lengthens into long notes of dry earthy spice.

The gin is given extra elegance by slowing down the normal rate of vapour infusion, where the spirit passes as vapour through baskets filled with botanicals. By controlling the temperature and vapour flows, the extraction level is heightened to build a richer aroma and more intense flavour.

It is bottled at 47.5% ABV as opposed to Bombay Sapphire’s 40% ABV. The higher strength emphasises the elevated aromatics and helps to underpin the spirit’s overall balance and harmony. The higher alcohol is not felt aggressive as the spirit has an exceptional smoothness due to the slower distillation.

The new gin is produced in small batches at Bombay Sapphire’s distillery at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire under master distiller Nik Fordham, who developed it with master of botanicals, Ivano Tonutti.

Ivano said: “The idea with Star of Bombay was to create a gin with an increased perception of the Bombay top-note aromatics. It is possible to simply add new botanicals to a gin and bring a ‘note’ of their character over the spirit, but this is not the style of Bombay. We vapour-infuse our botanicals.

“Painstaking flavour trials had to be made to achieve the precise quantities and qualities that could interact with all the other botanicals and integrate into the heart of the gin. It is this perfect balance that we aim for.”

Nik added: “The single-batch distillation method designed around Star of Bombay is very much a craft process. It requires more hands-on control and monitoring to create a gin of extraordinary complexity.

“The result is an exceptional smoothness and supple character, making it feel more like an aged spirit in the mouth, so much so that it can be drunk neat over ice, which is an amazing surprise that gin can be drunk and enjoyed this way.”

In developing the new gin, Nik and Ivano worked closely with Sam Carter, senior ambassador for Bombay Sapphire, to ensure it was perfect for serves such as a Martini and gin and tonic.

It is recommended to serve Star of Bombay in a 50/50 proportion with Fever-Tree Tonic over ice, with a slice of orange peel. Due to its complexity and smoothness, it can be enjoyed just over ice with a slice of orange peel.

While similar to the core Bombay Sapphire, Star of Bombay’s bottle has concentric facets, chosen to represent the depth and complexity of the spirit. The bottle is taller and slimmer with a slight taper to the structure to help it stand out on the back bar as a super-premium offering.

It joins the other variants, Bombay Sapphire East and Bombay Dry. It is the first new addition to the range since Bombay Sapphire transferred production to Laverstoke Mill in October last year.

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