Jun 152010
 


Is Bombay Sapphire Worth the High Price Tag?

Bombay Sapphire Gin

Bombay Sapphire Gin

Bombay Sapphire Gin, without doubt, comes in the classiest, coolest, most attractive and distinguished looking bottle any alcohol has ever known. The cool, blue bottle, along with its magical, Sapphire name brand is enough to make anyone buy the product at least once, regardless of the pricey cost. Do the contents live up to it’s packaging or are people brainwashed by the cool, blue bottle and Sapphire name? If Bombay Sapphire is worth the price that is paid for it, then you would expect it to taste 3 to 4 times better than house gins like Burnett’s, Gilby’s or Taaka Gin. Does it?

Bombay Sapphire Martinis

A friend and the boss of my former company, introduced me to Bombay Sapphire martinis; straight up with no vermouth about 15 years ago. At the time, I remembered thinking they had an extremely strong first bite, and the alcohol seemed very potent. However, there was nothing special or unique enough about the flavor of Sapphire gin, that I would be willing to pay so much for them as my own, martini-making gin at home.  So, quicker than you chug down a sloe-gin fizz,  I made the decision that this expensive gin in the pretty bottle would never grace my home’s liquor cabinet. 15 years later, I don’t regret this decision. Since then, I have often visited friends and family members who do have a bottle of Bombay Sapphire in their bar. On these occasions, I was always anxious to try it again, thinking that I might finally be convinced that it is a superior tasting gin. Every time I’ve tried it, I’ve been greatly disappointed. In fact, Bombay Sapphire gin seems less smooth than most of the house gins that I drink – and that includes the ultra cheap bargain, gin, Taaka. I’ve read a great deal of user opinions on Bombay Sapphire and there are a number of people that seem to agree with me that Bombay Sapphire is not a very smooth tasting gin. Those that don’t like the bitterness describe it as being overly juniper-tasting. On the other hand, those who do like the strong taste, say they like it for the very same reason: it’s juniper flavor. My own, personal tastes happen to disagree with both sides on this matter. I don’t perceive Bombay Sapphire gin being any more juniper-tasting than many of my other favorite, cheaper gins. I would describe the initial bite as being more of a bitter citrus flavor, like an unripe, lemon peel. It simply tastes very strong and harsh to me and I would never pay $20.00 for a 1.75L bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, much less the $33.00 average price that it actually costs. One other explanation for the strong first bite could be that it is 94 proof (47% alcohol). Typically, Gin is either 90 or 84 Proof. That’s a significant difference in alcohol content; enough that you might not be able to enjoy your typical two martinis before dinner without getting a headache. Stronger alcohol is not always better. If you like a dry martini, you’ve got to be careful when you make them with Bombay Sapphire gin, particularly if you weigh 170 lbs or less, like me.

I’ve noticed as a general rule, that those who don’t drink a particular type of alcohol every day, are the ones most likely to stock the expensive ones like Grey Goose Vodka and Sapphire gin in their home. I have a friend who keeps an 18 year old bottle of Aberlour scotch in his home just for when scotch-drinking friends (like me) :) come over to visit. It is nice that friends and family members think enough of their guests to have the best brands of alcohol on hand. Those of us who drink it regularly, have learned to appreciate good brands of alcohol that are much less expensive; otherwise, we’d go broke. Since starting this review, I’ve tried the Taaka Gin again. It’s a little weak and plastic-like in its taste, but is indisputably smoother going down and much less likely to cause a headache the next morning. For a gin that is every bit as flavorful, but far smoother in taste, I’d recommend Beefeater Gin. Beefeater is the unanimous choice among Martini Drinkers. If you’re a sloe gin fizz drinker, you should be able to drink just about anything, but do you really want to pay 3 – 4 times more for Bombay Sapphire because it has a cool bottle and brand name? My guess is, no. And as a martini drinker, I say no to Bombay Sapphire gin.

  4 Responses to “Bombay Sapphire Gin”

  1. Bombay Sapphire lacks character in my opinion. It is one of a breed of vodka-gins that are a lot gentler on the palette. I suppose this is good for widening the appeal of gin, but it leaves me wanting more; I tend to agree with your conclusions in that there are cheaper and nicer gins out there.

  2. New Amsterdam is my benchmark gin from which I rate all others.

    It is often called “gin for those that don’t like gin” and so good that you can actually drink it straight.

    That doesn’t really say much for other gins, does it?

    WHY don’t people like gin? WHY do they have to mix it with bitter crap like tonic in order to try and hide the taste of it?

    If you can’t drink a brand straight, then it isn’t any good.

    Not that I won’t occasionally mix some New Amsterdam with a natural soda, but most of the time just plain seltzer water, so not to cover up the great taste of this premium gin.

    • When I read that New Amsterdam Gin is sprinkled with certain botanicals, I reconsidered whether or not to compare it to a regular gin. As it turns out, many of the other brands of gin advertise added botanicals other than the juniper berry.
      I’m still not sure New Amsterdam falls under the category of a traditional gin. It is no doubt, very smooth, but also a bit sweeter than Bombay, Tanguray, etc.
      Thanks for your comments.

      Rob

  3. I always grace my dear sister with a bottle of Bombay gin whenever I am able to travel to visit her. (We live in different states.) I let it be known that my rationale for choosing Bombay over other brands is that it has a picture of her on the label. While the actual resemblance of my sister to QV is a remote stretch, the recurring ribbing leading up to the cocktail hour makes our reunion imbibements that much the merrier!

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