By Ben Bowers
on 2.2.12
Photo by Bombay Sapphire

After 25 years as one of the world’s leading gin brands, Bombay Sapphire has finally introduced a new extension to the line, dubbed Bombay Sapphire East ($32) (42% ABV). Adding “East” to the name may seem a bit redundant given the Bombay branding, but the spirit has always been officially classified as a London Dry gin and produced in England. The “East” in this case instead refers directly to the new, Asia-inspired flavors added to the spirit, which include Thai lemongrass and Vietnamese black peppercorns. Unlike more common gin production methods where botanicals are steeped in a neutral spirit before distillation, these additional tweaks are vapor distilled via a botanical basket hung in the still just like the other 10 flavor profiles found in regular Sapphire, resulting in the dampened juniper profile the brand is known for.

Given the slight changes to the recipe, the result isn’t all that far off from the original, but the amped up citrus palette and spice kick are definitely noticeable, in someways putting the overall soft balance of the spirit a tad off kilter. This shift can be used to a skilled mixers advantage, however, to embolden complimentary flavors in classic gin-based cocktails like the Negroni or Gimlet.

We don’t see East usurping it’s older brother as the anchor of the bar any time soon, but it’s definitely worth keeping around for those special moments, when ordinary just won’t cut it. Let’s hope Bombay knows exactly what the Chinese character means on the bottle.

Buy Now: $32