Gin Reviews

Bombay Sapphire East

Juniper Spice Heat Citrus Floral
Gin Flavor Profile

Peppery and only slightly citrusy. Plenty of juniper and mellow earthiness combined with some floral and herbal notes largely owing to the Lemongrass.

Bombay Sapphire East Bottle Let’s start at the very beginning. I was taught at a young age that it the most logical, and perhaps “best,” place to start.

There once was a time in my life where gin at the bar was limited to the standards. The junipers. The burning sensation of a foreign beverage. One I didn’t quite understand. It may have been my predilection for the color blue. It may have been pure chance, that my eye, wandered to that shelf in the back and saw the blue bottle- faintly illuminated from the back-bar lights. It was Bombay Sapphire. and it was my first true taste of a gin that made me want to come back for more. I did learn to appreciate, and yes even love, the other colors, the other names and other brands. But Bombay Sapphire does hold a special place in my gin loving heart. And that is why when I heard that Bombay Sapphire East was going to be test-launched here in New York City (along with Las Vegas) I knew I had to try it immediately.

Back to the Present

I saw the bottle at Astor Place Wines and Spirits last Friday and bough it. However the bottle I bought was not to be my first taste. With the bag in my bag, my wife and I went to Madame Geneva’s on Bleeker for some Friday night refreshments. The first drink I ordered (the name be damned! It escapes me) had Bombay Sapphire East in it, along with lemon juice and a couple of other things that naturally escaped my memory as it was a Friday night and I was in relaxation (and not blogger) mode. Anyway, the first thing I noticed was the taste of black pepper. It rose immediately to the surface, I didn’t detect the lemongrass at first. But the flavor tasted unmistakably of Bombay Sapphire.

On to a Proper Tasting

At home, I sipped a bit of it neat. Black pepper feels almost like the primary flavor in it. I don’t know if I was trained to look for it because of the marketing or what. But it’s there, and I have to be honest- it compliments juniper fantastically. I think that black peppercorn is the spice and compliment that brings the juniper out in this gin.

Chilled, but still not mixed, you begin to get a bit more of the lemongrass and the herbals underneath. It’s here that Bombay Sapphire East begins to taste a lot like its older brother Bombay Sapphire. The lemon/citrus notes are a little more muted here. There’s a nutty sweetness, I think its a combination of the almond and the cassia bark that come together to create a flavor that I think is both, but neither simultaneously. It may be the addition of the two new botanicals, but I feel that East is more balanced and a bit more complex.

Botanical bingo

And Finally some Mixing

I couldn’t resist making a gin and tonic with it. It seemed a perfect-match for the tonic water that I had declared as “lemongrass central” just last week. With Fentiman’s, you have a delicious gin and tonic that is decidedly more herbal than it is when drank neat. Conversely, use some Q-tonic and you have a peppery and sharp gin and tonic. This is a gin that rewards those who may be inclined to experiment with their tonics. There’s a few competing angles here. Add some extra lime and you have a citrus East and Tonic that is very similar to classic Bombay Sapphire.

It has a nice profile that makes for an interesting heavy gin:vermouth (> 5:1) martini, but overall I’m hesitant to recommend it for a 2:1 martini. It felt like the best notes of it were overwhelmed.

It makes for a shining Negroni. The spicy brightness of the pepper again stars here, and it rises to the surface. I strongly endorse the East Negroni. The lemon notes have always made Bombay Sapphire a go-to gin that does its thing well with lemon juice, so Tom Collins and the citrus juice + gin family are excellent choices for this gin.

And perhaps beyond?

One thing I’ve become quite interested in is how gin works in cooking and the kitchen. I’ve been tweeting recipes I see that use gin, the juniper being a key characteristic in a lot of northern European cuisines, and a nice compliment for many Asian dishes. But a gin that accentuates black pepper? Something which I put into every dish? There’s a potential in here that I think could be very creatively explored.

Price: $25/ 750 mL
Best consumed: Gin and Tonic, Negroni, or heavy-citrus cocktail. Neat/On the rocks also brings out some interesting flavors.
Website: http://www.bombaysapphire.com/
Availability: New York City and Las Vegas now, but worldwide launch coming soon.
Rating: A gin that goes in a direction that other gins haven’t gone, and comes out a winner.
(4.5/5)

14 thoughts on “Bombay Sapphire East

    David T Smith

    Really nice article, every one seems to have a Bombay Sapphire story. I think it was BS that switched me to Gin Martinis. Another one of those gate-way gins. I really like the bottle too, a subtle change but a good one.

    bob petro

    a little hard to find, but worth the hunt. delicate flavor makes a GREAT martini which makes it difficult to enjoy just one!

    Mark

    Banging my own drum here a little but Fellow Productions recently completed the commercial for Bombay Sapphire East now trialling in US cinemas. We spent 10 gruelling days in Vietnam and Thailand but a thing of real beauty just like the gin.
    Have a look http://tinyurl.com/c5k4t82

    JR

    BEST GIN I EVER TASTED. GOT SOME AT GATWICK DUTY FREE LAST MONTH

    Edward Davidson

    OK. You’ve convinced me. I’m IN!! Now if I can just find it ……

    Russell R. Miller

    I believe that Bombay drinkers would enjoy the current spy novel “Death on the Silk Road.” In the opening chapter, the central character is enjoying a Bombay martini in a hotel bar in Istanbul…..
    “Dusk was fading into darkenss and the lights were beginning to better define the extended spans of the Bosporos Bridge. Charlie Connelly nursed his Bombay martini as he gazed thoughfully through the darkened windows of the Istanbul Hilton’s rooftop bar.” The spy novel is set primarily in the Tien Shan Mountains of Kazakhstan and involves the Chinese, the Uighurs, and rare-earth minerals. It is available world wide at amazon.com and makes an entertaining read.

    Bonnie

    I like my martini’s dirty… generally use Sapphire… do you think Sapphire East would work with the olives?

    Aaron

    I think it would- pepper goes nicely with Olives, and I think the brine might give it a nice “salt and pepper” taste. Ultimately it’s up to you, but I would embrace this idea head on. Let me know how it is once you get a chance to taste it.

    I generally drink my martinis 4:1 or 3:1, just a nice vermouth, good gin and a lemon twist.

    chris austin

    Not sure if I dare admit to having been a Gordon’s fan … BUT …. I bought 2 litres of East at Sydney airport recently … Oh! boy …what a revelation ….. I’m convinced ….. it was wonderful ….. I’m totally converted.

    Terry searl

    This is the first time I’ve visited this page and I found the comments very useful. I am a Bombay Sapphire Gin Martini drinker and saw a bottle of the East Bombay Sapphire gin in our local Liquour store this afternoon and so wanted a review of it before buying a bottle……..Thank-you for a very credible review

    hawkeyeui93

    I never thought Bombay Sapphire was worth the premium price [and prefer Bombay Original], but the addition of the lemongrass and peppercorn really ups the game here. Bombay Sapphire East is worth the premium.

    Philip Miles (@PhilipMiles)

    @Bonnie – I used East to make a 4:1 dirty martini with jalapeno-stuffed olives. The spicy olives mixed great with the spicy gin!

  1. [...] and soda water? The 328, a number which symbolizes good luck for business, starts with a base of Bombay Sapphire East. The spirit was brought to market last September and is noted for black pepper and lemongrass, [...]

  2. [...] alcohol takes the already wonderful Bombay Sapphire Gin and adds a couple “eastern” elements to alter the flavour. Lemongrass and black peppercorns [...]

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