Bombay Sapphire is a brand of gin owned by Bacardi that was first launched in 1987 by IDV. In 1997 Diageo sold the brand to Bacardi. Its name originates from gin’s popularity in India during the British Raj and the sapphire in question is the Star of Bombay on display at the Smithsonian Institution. Bombay Sapphire is marketed in a flat-sided, sapphire-coloured bottle that bears a picture of Queen Victoria on the label.
The flavouring of the drink comes from a recipe of ten ingredients (which the bottle’s label boasts as “10 exotic botanicals”): almond, lemon peel, liquorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia, cubeb, and grains of paradise. The spirit is triple distilled using a carterhead still, and the alcohol vapours are passed through a mesh/basket containing the ten botanicals, in order to gain flavour and aroma. This gives a lighter, more floral gin rather than the more-common ‘punchy’ gins that are distilled using a copper pot still. Water from Lake Vyrnwy is added to bring the strength of Bombay Sapphire down to 40.0% (UK, Canada, Australia).
In 2011 it was announced that the company is planning to move the distillation process to a new facility in Laverstoke, Hampshire. The plans include the restoration of the former Portal’s paper mill, and the construction of a visitor centre. In February 2012, they received planning permission for the site and the centre is scheduled to be opened in Spring 2014. Production and bottling of the drink is contracted out by Bacardi to G&J Greenall