I first tasted Star of Bombay, the new expression from Bombay Sapphire while visiting Laverstoke Mill, during my trip back to the UK in June. I was with Nik Fordham, the Master Distiller at the time who was sampling the latest batch that had come off the still some 30 minutes earlier. How lucky am I?
The instant I tasted it I knew Nik had created a winner. Maybe it was the pronounced juniper or the elevated ABV (47.5%), or perhaps my dazzling surroundings at the time (distillery geek right here!).
When I chatted with Nik, he impressed upon me that this was a new gin entirely, not just a beefed up Bombay Sapphire. Nik said:
“We knew we wanted to something different over and above just adding a new botanical, so we used 2 different types of juniper, regular juniper communis and juvenile (younger berries) greener juniper, which give more pine notes.”
Juniper, coriander, grains of paradise, lemon peel, cubeb berries, orris root, almonds, cassia bark, liquorice, angelica, (the key botanicals of Bombay Sapphire) are joined by bergamot and ambrette seeds to produce a spicier, earthier gin.
Like the other gins in the Bombay Sapphire stable, Star of Bombay is 100% vapour-infused (the botanicals sit above the boiling alcohol, not in it) however, Nik and the team are running the stills at a different rate, (first at 40% then up to 60% before dropping back down to 40%) which assists in developing a more intense flavour.
It’s definitely has more pronounced juniper flavour, lots of pine and some citrus, but with a spicier, warmer finish than it’s counterpart, Bombay Sapphire.
How to drink it
The Bombay peeps recommend a 50/50 Star of Bombay to tonic ratio, served with a twist of orange peel. I adore this, as I like my G&Ts on the bolder (stronger!) side.
For a longer drink try it with a splash of Saint Germain Elderflower liqueur and top up with soda water.