Bombay Sapphire East

  • Rating: 8
  • Value: 9

A further departure from a London Dry and towards a New World Gin by a respected maker of gin. Less experimental in a good way than many of the modern style gins out there.

Notes: Bombay Sapphire East is a new gin  available in only limited markets so far .  Bombay Sapphire East is a new  line extension of the original Bombay Original Dry with a recipe based on a recipe from 1761. Made in an original Carter Head Still the botanicals are steamed by the alcohol and their essential oils and flavors are carried upwards with the alcohol to be condensed and eventually bottled. The main difference between this, the Blue Sapphire Gin East and the Bombay Original is the addition of four more botanicals (grains of paradise, cubeb berries, Thai lemongrass and Vietnamese black pepper). The gin itself we should point out, is clear – only the bottle is colored. If you want a blue colored gin ( colored with Iris Flowers) we would suggest Magellan Gin by Pierre Ferrand.

Appearance: Clear, silvery appearance.On swirling it leaves a light coat with numerous droplets/tears forming on edge line

First Impression: More pepper than juniper forward with a somewhat understated juniper with lots of citrus and herbal content with the juniper more in the background than foreground. Spicy, citrusy, not as highly  aromatic as the regular Sapphire – a somewhat wider set of nosing note with the lemon grass combining and taking the edge off a number of the other ingredients .

Taste: Nice oily entry, slightly sweet entry that then ends drying quickly and start a slight warm burn of pepper along the edges of the tongue with a lot of citrus and spice and a somewhat understated juniper, lots of citrus,  touches of almond and angelica backing up the juniper, and the cubeb coriander and orris giving the gin some nice bones to it.The lemongrass give it a lingering aromatic finish while the black pepper leaves and interesting tingle along with the other spices to make for a slightly paradoxical sweet and drying finish towards the end fade.

Drinks: The martini of course, in which it does admirably, even if Plymouth Gin may be the original gin used in the modern martini as we know it, for those who prefer a somewhat different style of a  dry gin that is more spiced vodka than juniper Sapphire East is a good choice. Sapphire East also works well in a Gin and Tonic with the black pepper reducing the sweetness and playing up the bitter notes a trace, and is a nice touch in a Gibson,  not so great with a Ramos Gin Fizz or  Last Word as in the Ramos, it just does not seem right with the pepper, and same for the Last Word only it seems to unbalance the Chartreuse and lime elements. I think it does do well against sweeter ingredients ( like St Germain or some other liqueurs that are not overly complex)

Bottle: Clear sapphire blue bottle, square sided with clipped or rounded edges and arch like side panels that leads to a sloped and short neck with a drier blue screw cap closure with a seal tape in a medal type format that says ” East” below a kanji I can’t decipher and has the signature sapphire at the bottom of it. Front and back of bottle have dark blue  paper labels with attractive graphics with multiple fonts and colors on the front designed to convey the venerableness of the brand. Back label has a short story of the brand and the side panels have the laser (?) engraved drawings of each ingredient and the area where it came from with one panel dedicated to the new, diffentiating  ingredients complete with a map. Altogether an attractive and distinctive package that can be spotted at a distance on any bar or shelf,

Other: There are two other versions of Bombay out there at present, Bombay Original Dry, an older, more traditional juniper forward London Dry Gin, ( with 8 botanicals) and the Bombay Sapphire ( a less juniper forward gin with 10 botanicals) Reminds me a good bit of Right Gin

Final Thoughts:  For someone seeking a less juniper forward type of gin but not as far away from the standards as a New World gin – which can go even further afield from a London Dry standard, this is an interesting and accessible gin that is a couple of twists on the original but still using its well made and known foundation to explore some new ideas.


Well done website with a fair amount of information.

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