On the Shelf: Bombay Sapphire “Star of Bombay” London Dry Gin

After a very successful preview at recent Sydney pop-up Project Botanicals, Bombay Sapphire’s new super-premium Star of Bombay has been released to the public, showcasing a new evolution for the brand as they attempt to “redefine” high-end Gin and elevate what is already considered to be the world’s fastest growing premium Gin and number one premium Gin by value.

Bombay Sapphire’s signature botanicals have always been Juniper, Coriander, Lemon Peel, Orris, Angelica, Almonds, Liquorice and Cassia Bark – eight botanicals which are lifted by Master Distiller Nik Fordham with the addition of two new botanicals: gently dried bergamot orange peel, sourced from the mountains of Calabria, Southern Italy, and ambrette seeds, from the tropical yellow hibiscus flower grown in Ecuador.

All the above have, as sticking with the original recipe of Bombay Sapphire, been vapour-infused into the Gin through a copper basket, a process achieved under carefully controlled temperatures and heavily scrutinised to ensure a balance is maintained, slowed down more than usual so that Star of Bombay can benefit from an increased level of extraction with richer aromas and more intense flavours.

As explained by Fordham in a press release, “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 that make it feel more like an aged spirit.”

With a total of 10 botanicals to balance, Star of Bombay is an ambitious entry from a brand known for their reliability. Their talk of intensity certainly comes through with the spirit though, and the strong, clear aromas let you know immediately that Fordham has gotten it exactly right with this experiment.

Fordham claims that the Gin is just as viable neat over ice than it is in a nice, complex G&T, and he isn’t off the mark at all here. Star of Bombay is strong and elegant when neat, with clearly distinctive tastes through the palate. It’s not all too much different from your original Bombay Sapphire, just certain botanicals have been lifted over others and in this case, you’ll get a stronger nose of coriander and angelica while a more subtle note of bitter cirtus, revisited with intensity mid-palate after a very vibrant, floral start where the bergamont orange peel is at it’s most discernible. The ambrette seeds give the liquid a distinctive, bitter earthiness with a slight hint of spice. There’s that consistent note of coriander smoothly throughout the palate to maintain that pleasant, clean taste.

Signature Serve

The Star of Bombay Signature Serve is The Intense Gin and Tonic, a more flavourful take on the classic. Recipe is as follows.

  • One part Star of Bombay Gin
  • One part Indian Tonic Water
  • Finished with Orange Zest

Star of Bombay is now available at Dan Murphy’s and other premium independent retailers, at the recommended retail price of $69.99.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.

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