It’s been quite some time since we last talked about gin. I recall a time when I was hopelessly devoted to the striking botanical infusions of a wide variety of fine gin spirits, sampling nearly each one I happened upon. My favorite, still to this day, remains Hendricks Gin, which I wrote about over two years ago. The incredible aroma and flavor of fresh cucumber, married with the tantalizing bite of juniper, is unlike anything else I’ve sampled.
Today, my dear friends, we’re getting back into gin. Feast your eyes, if you will, on the bright glow of the everlasting blue bottle of Bombay Sapphire East. Indeed, while the adornment surrounding the spirit may bear a familiar form, the contents are incredibly different. Many folks are familiar with Bombay’s flagship gin; after all, it’s the only product Bombay Spirits Co. advertises, choosing to forego mentioning their incredible new take on Sapphire, or even their cost-effective, dry classic. I suppose this is where I come in.
Bombay Sapphire East brings all of the fullness in flavor of original Sapphire, featuring all 10 botanicals from the standard recipe: Juniper, lemon peel, grains of paradise, coriander, cubeb berries, orris root, almonds, cassia bark, licorice, and angelica. In addition to these classic ingredients, Sapphire East is infused with two more — lemongrass and black peppercorns. These were included to cut through the sweetness of American tonic water, and they do a damn fine job.
Upon first glance, one might easily mistake Sapphire East for regular Sapphire. They look exactly the same and pour exactly the same, and when mixed into a complex cocktail they produce nearly identical results. The difference, mind you, is in the simple cocktails. Sapphire East s extremely fresh on the nose, due in no small part to the lemongrass. While I couldn’t detect the black peppercorns in the aroma, it was quite clear in tasting that something was afoot. A crisp, spicy bite lingered on my tongue as I tossed the gin back, warming me to the core.
As luck would have it, I had some tonic water in my refrigerator, so I splashed some over ice and poured an ounce of Bombay Sapphire East. I could easily tell the difference, and I’d like to make it abundantly clear that I prefer this one for Gin & Tonics over original Sapphire without question.
The price point is right, and I can see myself coming back to this one again and again. Sapphire East was released in limited test markets, but if you can find it, snag it quickly.