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Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin

Review: Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin  88.5/100
Review by Chip Dykstra
Refreshed March 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, almonds, lemon peel, grains of paradise, licorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica root, coriander seeds, cassia bark, and cubeb berries.

The spirit is bottle at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Bombay Sapphire Gin is presented in a rectangular, swuare based blue sapphire coloured bottle. 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.

I like the bottle which is not only attractive, it holds to the bartender’s creed of being easy to store (the stubbly bottle is stable with a round shape that rests easily on any bartender’s shelf); easy to hold (the round cylindrical bottle is not too wide for the average person’s hand); and easy to pour (the cork comes out easily and the long neck helps us avoid spilling).

In the Glass 9/10

Bombay Sapphire Gin is a clear, and when tilted and twirled in the glass imparts just a very light sheen of oil on the inside. The aroma which drifts into the air is clean and bright with piny (juniper), zesty citrus. a touch of peppery spice and coriander as well as light licorice notes. An enticing floral character sits with the juniper; and perhaps there is a ribbon of sweet orange liqueur and lemon in the breezes as well.

I like the aroma which represents a classic juniper forward gin brightened by citrus and spice, yet softened with a light earthy quality which make it seem very approachable.

In the Mouth 53/60

The flavours of piny juniper and bright citrus zest lead out as they should. Oranges, maraschino cherries, and lemons seem to dance weave in and out of the flavour stream. A light but firm floral note and soft earthy licorice softens the juniper. There is also just a light peppery bite, perhaps a indication from the peppery cubeb, and the cinnamon showing through.

The gin has all the characteristics of a classic dry gin. As such the cocktail menu to choose from includes all of the quintessential gin cocktails. A lime Gimlet tastes wonderful and does both a Gin and Tonic and a Gin Martini. I decided to go a little off the rails with my cocktail suggestion though, a burly cocktail which mixed Bombay Sapphire gin with cask strength peated scotch whisky. (see recipe below)

In the Throat 13/15

Bombay Sapphire Gin is surprisingly smooth. In addition to the piny juniper there is also a touch of licorice and a few zesty citrus notes which are noticed in the finish. After the swallow more juniper settles in as does a light bite of peppery spice and some ebbing coriander.

The Afterburn 9/10

Bombay Sapphire is a classic London Dry Gin. It can be sipped over ice, but is much better in those quintissential cocktails I mentioned above, the Gimlet, the Gin and Tonic, and the Martini. Even Negroni and Martinez cocktails can be served with no qualms. Simply put, it is a great gin.

You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

Here is a cocktail I designed almost 8 years ago which combines Cask Strength Peated Scotch Whisky with London Dry Gin. Recently I refined the serving by removing one unnecessary ingredient (Vermouth) and simplifying the garnish; thus turning the serving into a Gin and Whisky Old Fashioned of sorts.  Sometimes less is more which was certainly the case here.

What Rough Beast

3/4 oz  Bowmore Tempest
3/8 oz  Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin
1/4  oz Orange Curacao
2-3 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
Orange Peel Coil

Add Bowmore Tempest and Bombay London Dry Gin to a rocks glass with Ice.
Add a touch of Curacao and a few dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters
Garnish with an Orange Peel Coil

Enjoy Responsibly!

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

Note: If you are wondering about the name of the serving, it is from The Second Coming, written by W. B. Yeats in 1919. A poem written in the aftermath of the First World War; but which seems to have an uncanny ring to our current political and economic climate. (Gosh I hope I’m wrong.)


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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