A brand of gin.

It is brought into the United States by Carillon Importers, and is ostensibly of Indian origin.

It contains at least ten botanicals, which are the flavoring agents which give a brand of gin its unique character.

In Bombay Sapphire, they are: grains of paradise, almonds, lemon peel, licorice, juniper berries, cubeb berries, orris, coriander, angelica, and cassia bark.

It is 94 proof, or 47% ethanol.
The best gin there is. Less orthodox taste than Tanqueray, but much more interesting and complex. Suitable for gin and tonics and very dry martinis, where the gin taste is allowed to roam free, unhampered by such strange additives as orange juice and sweet carbonated drinks.

The unique flavor comes from

And oooh, look at the pretty bottle!

In addition to the number of botanicals (ten) that leads to its complex flavor, a distinguishing factor of Sapphire is the method by which said botanicals are infused into the spirit.

Rather than boiling the botanicals in the spirit, during the distillation process the spirit vapors are passed through a copper basket containing the botanicals. This more gentle infusion maintains the subtleties of each flavor.

Mmm, Sapphire.

www.bombaysapphire.com has a lovely movie of the process

History

Launched in 1987 by GrandMet, Bombay Sapphire has established itself on the world stage as a prominent premium gin brand through a combination of impressive marketing, a recipe dating back to 1761 and luck.

Unlike many gins, which the spirit is boiled directly with the botanicals that give gin its unique flavor, Bombay Sapphire relies on a process of vapor infusion to impart a subtle and gentle aromatic flavor onto the spirit. The botanicals are suspended in bundles above the still in a copper basket, and the flavor is passed onto the spirit as it passes through.

The ten botanicals that combine to create Bombay Sapphire are public knowledge, only the amount of each ingredient is a secret. The ingredients are:

Bombay Sapphire's success largely lies with its connection in the minds of consumers with the British Raj and the heritage that goes along with it. However, despite the portrait of Queen Victoria on the bottle, Bombay Sapphire has no connection with India other than the popularity of Gin with the colonialists. The connection with India was a creation of the marking department of Bombay Spirits Co., Ltd, giving the brand a history and heritage far greater than reality.

The merger of Guinness and GrandMet to form Diageo in 1997 resulted in the acquisition of Bombay Sapphire by Bacardi in 1998.

Under new ownership, the Bombay Sapphire launched a new marketing initiative, the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition. The competition is aimed at emerging designers, with the goal of annually finding a new design of glass to market beside Bombay Sapphire. The effort is largely credited with increasing Bombay Sapphire's quality in the eyes of consumers, along with promoting the brand's image as a sophisticated, elegant drink.

Bombay Sapphire has been credited with re-invigorating the prospects of gin in the cocktail scene, which had suffered in the early 1990s with the increase in Vodka consumption. Its subtle taste, innovative bottle and aggressive marketing made it a strong performer in cocktail sales, benefiting the entire industry.

Today, Bombay Sapphire remains as one of the leading premium gin brands in the world, with its name and heritage, both real and imaginary, unlikely to slip from view.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombay_Sapphire

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Raj

http://www.boozebasher.com/?p=25

http://www.bombaysapphire.com

http://www.bombaysapphireprize.com/

http://www.designerglasscompetition.com

http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/aug2005/id20050812_942858.htm

http://www.drinksint.com/articles/34570/Bombay-mix-is-a-modern-day-hit.aspx?categoryid=231

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