The launch of Bombay Sapphire’s new distillery at Laverstoke Mill coincided with a rejig, certainly in the UK, of their gin portfolio; notably, the original Bombay Dry has had a makeover (changing from a red to a blue colour scheme) and a reduction in ABV to 37.5% ABV. This was to position the spirit as more of an introduction to the range, so we now have Bombay Dry (8 botanicals, 37.5% ABV), followed by Bombay Sapphire (10 botanicals, 40.0% ABV), and then Bombay Sapphire East (12 botanicals, 42.0% ABV).
I’ve often considered Bombay Dry to be under-rated and so I’m pleased to see it being given the attention it deserves. However, dropping the ABV of a spirit can be a risky business (I know some folk who still bemoan the reduction in strength of Gordon’s some years back), but it can certainly work, too; Jack Daniels was a higher ABV in the times of Sinatra, but is still exceptionally popular today.
On its own
Nose: Fresh juniper with some jammy fruit notes, a hint of citrus, and woody, earthy notes.
Taste: A very classic style with a good level and intensity of flavour. There are earthy, woody notes with hints of florality upfront, followed by piney juniper and a hint of fresh, zesty citrus, before a long, smooth, and dry finish.
Gin & Tonic
Despite the (appearingly unjust) criticism of the lower ABV, this drink truly proves that Bombay Dry is still a cracking gin that makes a great Gin & Tonic, full of punchy, fresh piney juniper and a hint of citrus. The trick with this gin is to use the tonic sparingly – I suggest a 2:1 ratio of tonic to gin.
An excellent flavour: clean and crisp, like a shard of ice. Delightful and a textbook example of the drink: neither too dry, nor intense, so a good choice for the Martini newbie.
A soft and smooth drink with strong notes from the Campari and red vermouth, although some dry pine and citrus also come through. A mellow and pleasant drink.
I think that the new Bombay Dry makes a great addition to this end of the gin market and represents good value for money. The gin stands up well to mixing in a variety of classic drinks, is sippable on its own, and makes a solid Gin & Tonic.