Bombay Sapphire Gin is a clean, refreshing, and citrus-forward gin. Tongue-coating flavors of juniper and pepper lead to a piney, prickly finish. It offers a great gateway into the gin category for vodka devotees.
Classification London Dry gin
Distillery Hampshire, England
Still Type copper pot stills
Proof 94 (47% ABV)
Clean, refreshing, and citrus-forward
A good gin to start with for vodka drinkers who are interested in dipping a toe into botanical spirits
Good for stirring or shaking at 94 proof
Citrus is this gin’s most prominent botanical; serious gin lovers will miss the complexity and prominent punch of other herbs and spices.
Nose: Fresh lemony aroma, with a little bit of musky angelica showing through
Palate: The most notable aspect of Bombay Sapphire is how it feels in your mouth. It hits the palate with a sweet-tart flavor and an almost unctuous and slippery, tongue-coating texture that snaps to a close with a soft, drying juniper-pepper spiciness.
Finish: The trademark juniper really only presents itself thoroughly at the end, after the liquid has left your mouth. It fills your senses with a fresh, softly piney note, as well as a prickly, drying zap of spicy heat.
Bombay Sapphire launched into the world in the mid-80s, when vodka became as much a lifestyle marketing icon as a blank-canvas spirit, and Sapphire’s clean, fresh, and mixable profile displays that era’s cocktail values. But while some may argue that it’s vodka-adjacent, it has endured and lured many a gin-shy drinker over to the botanical-flavored-spirit side.
Its aromatics and flavor profile are fresh and streamlined, but it does make use of 10 globally sourced botanicals: coriander from Morocco, Italian orris root and juniper, cubeb from Java, Spanish lemons and almonds, cassia bark from Indonesia, licorice root from China, angelica from Germany, and grains of paradise from Ghana. It is a true G&T go-to: refreshing, zippy, and quinine-complementary.
Bombay Sapphire’s distillery is housed in Laverstoke Mill, which began as a corn-mill-turned-paper-mill in the 18th century. It would go on to become the British Empire’s go-to for bank-note printing. After Bombay bought and refurbished the old mill, it partnered with London’s design darlings, Heatherwick Studio, to build a stunning accordion-shaped steel-and-glass house for its botanicals.
The Bottom Line
If it’s crowd-pleaser gin you need, Bombay Sapphire’s clean, citrusy, and mildly spiced profile is a good choice for democratic drinking.