Bombay Sapphire East

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Bombay Sapphire East was launched in 2011. It was the first time since Bombay Sapphire’s 1987 launch that the line was expanded upon.

There’s not much different about Bombay Sapphire East save two new botanicals— at the time in 2011, note that these were still somewhat adventurous— lemongrass and Vietnamese peppercorn. The things that are the same are the core set of botanicals, the distillation through vapor infusion in their signature Carterhead still.

But it’s also worth noting that East set the stage for a whole host of Asian inspired brand extensions that would happen in the following decade.

Just as in 1987 when Sapphire pushed the boundaries of classic-style gin; Bombay Sapphire East was on the cutting edge in 2011 and predicted a bit where the category was heading.

Tasting Notes

Black pepper feels almost like the primary flavor in Bombay Sapphire East when sipped neat. It compliments the mellow juniper backbone fantastically.

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.


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.

Overall, Bombay Sapphire East

By pushing the boundaries at a time when the Gin Renaissance was only beginning, the Bombay product line eerily predicted the direction of the gin market.

History aside, Bombay Sapphire East still stands up as a solid, well made gin. The focus of the botanicals, the delightful black pepper notes— it makes a good G&T, but also is versatile enough behind the bar to be a go-to pour or a swap and try for fans of the original Bombay Sapphire.

Recommended in its category. 

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30 thoughts on “Bombay Sapphire East”

  1. Made a martini with East the way I normally like them – different and interesting, but not quite to my taste. Next time, never made a “perfect martini” before, but decided to try one with East and quite liked it.

  2. I had a chance to try Bombay Sapphire East this past weekend. Our son and his wife served it with chilled cucumber slices, black pepper and tonic. What a taste sensation. We loved it!

  3. Unbelievable taste! My favorite behind Plymouth.

    At a British Consulate reception, it was served to guests with a sliver of cinnamon bark rimmed the glass and dropped into the drink, and a single drop of pure vanilla, filled with tonic and lemon (my choice over lime).
    Simply heaven! If you are a true gin aficionado you must try it in this fashion.

  4. Thank you for sharing the very useful information I like your article, this is also one of the wine that I love, I can learn about the price as well as where can buy them?
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  5. 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.

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

  7. 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

  8. 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 and makes an entertaining read.

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. As a huge BS fan, I was happy to see this at a local store and picked it up immediately.

    The black pepper was indeed the star, and I loved it. This is a gin that I am enjoying myself on its own, though I am mixing it here and there.

    I also throw splashes of gin in the marinade I make for pork chops. The pepper and lemongrass were welcome additions and went great with pork.

  15. In the cookbook ‘Jerusalem’ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, there is a gorgeous recipe marinading chicken pieces in Arak with fennel and clementines which is then baked. I substitute the Arak for gin and clementines for orange, I wonder how BSE would go?!

  16. Bought this at glasgow airport via canada, not been a gin drinker long but i would recomend bombay sapphire east best gin and tonic i have had so far, cant wait for it to come to scotland will be first in the que.

  17. The drink you had at Madam Geneva’s was a “Corpse Reviver” …it also contains Absinthe btw….no wonder you had the memory lapse LOL

  18. I have been a Bombay Gin drinker (neat or on the rocks) for as long as long as I can remember (I just turned 83) and with the advent of Bombay Sapphire I gave it a try. What an incredible marketing job to add the blue bottle to the new package. However, when I reached the cashier I began to understand what was going on. I was asked to pay a HUGE premium for 9.3% more alcohol to match the alcohol content of Tangary or Beafeater. Alcohol by itself is very inexpensive and to ask a 40% premium for a 1.75 bottle was gutsy at best. But it worked. Sapphire is on every barroom shelf. What a success. But for me and my loyalty to Queen Vicki, as well as a deep-rooted Scottish heritage, I’ll stick with the Original, or as I say, “White Bombay up with an olive please”.

    Oh, this is about Bombay Sapphire East, right. Please read the above.

  19. I don’t know what people see in this gin but I think it’s terrible. my preference is Plymouth and tanqueray no 10, but I guess to each their own.

  20. the best way to make a g&t from the bombay sapphire east is to mix it with Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water with a few slices of fresh ginger and one or two sticks of fresh lemon grass (both crushed/pounded a bit to release their flavours into your g&t); add a lot of ice indeed. Best ever 🙂

  21. I also enjoy BS East; however, I have difficulty finding it. Probably because I live in the “sticks”.

    By the way, Gin is In is the bomb!

  22. Long time Bombay Sapphire lover here who only just recently decided to give the Bombay Sapphire East a try. I mostly drink martinis using Dolin and was very pleased with the “Eastern” influence. I added a lemon twist and was easily sold. I now routinely purchase the East in addition to the “original.” They are now constant neighbors in my freezer.