- Jonathan Winters
Star of Bombay Gin Review
A modern twist on London Dry gin by the Bombay Sapphire family.
Review Star of Bombay Gin
Made in: Laverstoke, Hampshire, England by Laverstoke Mill.
Method: vapor infused, copper pot stills.
43% alcohol/86 proof
Botanicals 12: Juniper, licorice, cassia bark, coriander, grains of paradise, angelica root, orris root, almonds, cubeb berries, lemon peel, bergamot orange, ambrette seeds.
Style: London Dry.
I haven’t spent a lot of time reviewing the big brands of gin, though I’ve spent plenty of time enjoying them, over the years. But eventually I had to get around to them. Star of Bombay, from the Bombay Sapphire family, certainly deserves to be reviewed.
Star of Bombay is a variant of Bombay Sapphire, but with two additional ingredients - bergamot orange (the fruit of the bergamot plant), and ambrette seeds (a sweet musty tasting seed from a plant genus native to India and Australia), as well as a slightly different juniper bill to produce something similar, but uniquely different from the traditional Bombay Sapphire.
The differences don’t stop with the botanical mix, but the gin is step distilled in a slower fashion to produce something that tasted different enough that it was worth bottling under its own name. Hence Star of Bombay (A reference to one of the most famous sapphires ever found - and the second gem name for the brand, as the Bombay Sapphire at 466 carats is the largest faceted sapphire in the world - Both the actual gemstones the Bombay Sapphire and the Star of Bombay are on display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC).
Tasted neat the Star of Bombay has just a tinge too much of heat to be enjoyed that way. But with ice and a moment or two to open up it loses much of the heat, but is still perhaps a bit too intense flavor-wise to make a great sipping gin.
On inhalation the gin hits you hard with coriander, juniper, and a more intense pine note that you typically find from juniper alone.. Following that are notes of lemon and fresh earth with just a hint of pepper.
Flavorwise this gin is powerful. Coriander, juniper, and bitter lemon battle for dominance here, along with traces of pepper, anise, and the counterpoint of earthy mustiness with just a few floral notes. It’s not that far from the taste of Bombay Sapphire - but a lot more robust.
On the palate it’s a bit sharp and acrid, finishing with the sweetness of orris and a few bitter notes.
For the martini portion of my test I went to my gold standard for judging gins, the very dry martini with an olive. And the martini here is classic, almost. Truth is that it's a good martini but not perfect as I do think there is a slight mustiness to it.
In a gin and tonic it’s good. I tried it with two of Fever Tree’s tonics, the classic indian style tonic and the aromatic tonic. I definitely preferred the classic as it fit my idea of a traditional gin and tonic, something relatable and fulfilling the expectations you have when you order a G&T in any good bar or restaurant. That said, in the modern age of gin, as good as it is, it’s not remarkably exciting. It’s standard.
This is meant to be a classic mixing gin, and in that it doesn’t disappoint. I tried it in an Aviation and found it to be almost sublime. It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be.
There is a reason that Bombay Sapphire is one of the gins that set the bar in the gin world. And you can taste it in Star of Bombay.
Personally I like this one a bit better than I like standard Bombay Sapphire. The extra complexity raises the bar just a little bit.
Overall rating: 90. The flavor profile is London dry, but richer. It’s simply a good standard gin - and pairs well in all classic cocktails.
What you need to know about reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.