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Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition Estate Gin

Review: Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition Estate Gin  90.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Published March 20, 2020

Bombay Sapphire Gin is distributed by Bacardi. It was launched in 1987 and draws its unusual name from a competition where several marketing agencies were asked to submit possible names and bottle designs for the new Gin. Bombay Sapphire, the chosen name, refers to the British Empire and India heritage for the spirit in India, as gin was an extremely popular spirit during the time of the British Raj. The Star of Bombay (featured on the label) is a famous Indian Sapphire now on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

Bombay Sapphire is a London Dry Gin. This style of gin is produced through a double distillation of a neutral grain spirit with botanicals added during the second distillation. Botanicals include, Spanish almonds and lemon peel, West African grains of paradise, Chinese licorice, juniper berries from Tuscany, orris root from Italy, angelica root from Saxony, coriander seed from Morocco, cassia bark from Indo China, and cubeb berries from Java.

Bacardi recently extended the Bombay Sapphire family of Gins with a new  limited-edition version, Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition Estate Gin which according to the press releases was inspired by the English countryside summer season, and contains three new botanicals, Pennyroyal Mint, Rosehip and toasted Hazelnut.

The spirit is sold in Canada at 41 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/10

Bombay Sapphire Gins are presented in a  rectangular blue sapphire bottle. with a square base. There is a likeness of Queen Victoria on the label hinting at the heritage of the British Empire in India from which the gin has drawn its name. The bottle is eye-catching and attractive.

In the case of the Limited Edition English Estate Gin, the bottle is accompanied by the floral sapphire blue box which looks very nice indeed upon my gin shelf.

In the Glass 9/10

The gin is clear when poured into the glass and when the scents  from within reached the breezes above the glass I was quite happy with the aroma that greeted my nose. The juniper lies a bit further back with citrus and florals taking a slight lead at first. Sort of a bouquet of hillside flowers complemented by the effervescence of citrus fruit and zest.

The juniper does come forward after a few minutes as does a light licorice-like impression both of which are softened by the aforementioned citrus and some underlying earthiness of angelica (and perhaps the rosehips). A very light perfume helps to support the impression of floral aromas and some spicy coriander weaves throughout everything.

The overall impact of the nose is extremely positive especially as the juniper rather than being hidden completely broke though to establish that this is still a London Dry Gin after all.

In the Mouth 54/60

Generally, I am not a fan of gins that mask the juniper in favour of highlighting the other botanicals. But, I am a fan of what I am tasting here. The reason is, that although the juniper does not leap out at first tasting, it nevertheless comes forward just a little stronger each time you taste the spirit. And that juniper flavour is melded very well into the overall profile of the dry gin.

When I took the first sip, it was just as I had noticed on the nose, as I was drawn to the combination of citrus and floral flavours which were at the same time familiar yet not quite what I had ever tasted before in gin. The press releases for the gin speak to capturing the essence of the hills and hedgerows that surround the Bombay Sapphire Laverstoke Mill Distillery in Hampshire. I really think that is a great way to describe what I am tasting. I really like that the floral impressions are not heavy on the perfume, rather they seem to meld into the herbal flavours giving us something new yet familiar. There is a bit of spiciness from coriander and cubeb which as well seems melded into the overall flavour quite well.

I mixed a few cocktails, starting with a Gin and Tonic, moving to a Gimlet style serving, and then finishing with a Wet Martini. The Gin and Tonic was decent; but both the Gimlet and the Martini really tasted nice. When a gin makes a great Martini, I tend to score it well as this serving forces the gin to shine and the Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition Estate Gin really did stand out in a positive way.

In the Throat 13.5/15

Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition Gin is smooth enough to sip on its own with exit flavours of citrus zest and coriander spice. A little juniper and licorice linger as well again reinforcing the notion that we really are sipping on gin and not some other contemporary spirit.

The Afterburn  9/10

It’s hard to wrap up my feelings without repeating what I have already said. Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition Estate Gin is a very nice gin with a flavour of hillside florals and botanicals which have melded well with the juniper while still allowing the juniper to push through. The spirit is excellent in Gimlets and Martinis, and although Gin is the original Martinis spirit, it is somewhat rare to find one that makes a Wet Martini this well.

My final score of 90.5/100 reflects my appreciation.

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Suggested Recipe:

My chosen garnish is a thin strip of Lemon peel which will add a harder zest than orange or Grapefruit. I find this harder zest works well in a traditional Martini. And although my photograph shows this strip of citrus peel left in the cocktail, I will usually remove it after a few sips such that the fruit peel does not add too much zest into the cocktail. (As I sip the cocktail, when I feel the flavour is just right, I remove the peel.)

Martini (with Lemon peel)

2 1/4 oz Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition Estate Gin 
3/4 oz Towse Vermouth
Ice
Thin coil of Lemon Peel

Add the Gin and the Vermouth into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the out side of the shaker begins to frost
Double Strain into a chilled martini glass
Add a thin coil of lemon peel

Of course, you should enjoy responsibly!

If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!

Note: I want to make a point about Vermouth. Once you open any bottle, it is important that you realize that any aromatized wine has a very short shelf life. This is because the wine will begin to oxidize almost immediately, and after only one short week (even if the bottle is refrigerated) its flavour will have undergone a noticeable change. Please use fresh Vermouth whenever you are serving Martini cocktails to your friends.

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My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score as follows:

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing spirit.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

 
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