Star of Bombay
Featuring two additional botanicals – Bergamot orange peel from Calabria in southern Italy and Ambrette seed from Ecuador – on top of the 10 botanicals that feature in their flagship gin Bombay Sapphire, Star of Bombay is also packaged in a sexy looking bottle with an amazing amount of detail. We’d expect nothing less for a brand who launched their beautiful new home at Laverstoke Mill with such aplomb and who are renowned for their connections with the design industry but still – this release qualifies as gin porn to say the least.
So, what about the liquid you ask? Bottled at a higher 47.5% ABV, the team designed the gin in order to emphasise the aromatic profile of the core botanicals. To achieve this desired stylistic result, master distiller, Nik Fordham painstakingly underwent flavour trials (yes, someone had to try all that gin!), and slowed their infamous vapour infusion process down to increase the extraction of botanicals oils.
The challenge was to add the perfect quantity of the new botanicals so the ensemble felt like it was fully integrated and intertwined, as opposed to merely a top note or a gimmicky twist. It needed to work as a new gin and not just a variation of Bombay Sapphire. Clearly, this has been achieved as Star of Bombay is impressive.
It is slightly musty on the nose, tasting dried flowers but also underlying spice. Almost strangely, the classic notes of juniper, angelica and coriander have been intensified but Ambrette is immediately apparent. Jammy from hibiscus to taste, with piquant spice, bergamot and ambrette seeds offer an exotic twist by entwining themselves around the core juniper. It’s an intense gin yet somehow retains the lightness expected of a Bombay distilled spirit. At 47.5% ABV, the finish is both long and richly aromatic but it’s not oily nor full – just rich when it hits and leaves behind a vivid memory.
As a release, we feel that that Star of Bombay is far more appealing compared to Bombay East or the limited edition Laverstoke Mill Bombay Sapphire, which are good in their own right but lack the exotic depth and fullness that Star of Bombay has. Liquid alone, this release could be successful in today’s saturated market even without the iconic Bombay name attached, as opposed to being just another bolt on to the the House of Bombay portfolio.
It is still unclear whether it will become part of their core range for years to come or if will be a limited edition and retired before 2016. If this is based on sales however – expect it to remain as £32 for a 47.5% ABV gin in incredible packaging will no doubt fly off the shelves. Served in a regular G&T, it works well with a thin orange peel garnish, but try it with Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic too, as the bergamot and citrus shine to create a refreshing summery twist.
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