The Bombay Sapphire gin distillery is located in Laverstoke, a small village in the North West of rural Hampshire, in England. This ancient mill is situated within what has been recognised as a Conservation Area and Site of Special Interest, and is crossed by the River Test, which creates a unique habitat, with significant biodiversity and a landscape worthy of an 18th century fairytale. Bombay Sapphire is integrated in a naturalistic context, with a strong commitment to land conservation, by implementing ecological and environmentally friendly processing methods. The presence of the Laverstoke Mill, where production takes place, was first mentioned in official census records from 1086, although it was probably built almost a century earlier. In 1724 it was bought by the Portal family who, for over 225 years, used it to produce quality paper for printing English crown notes.
Bombay Sapphire gins grew in parallel as the popularity of Gin & Tonic increased within the British Empire in the mid-1800s, particularly during the reign of Queen Victoria, who herself was an avid drinker. Its founder, Thomas Dakin, established the recipe in Warrington that is still in use today, with an artisanal distillation using 10 exotic botanicals from what is known as the Steam Infusion. These include liquorice and juniper, which are inevitable, but also Java pepper, angelica, almonds, coriander, cassia bark, iris and cardamom. The old Carterhead copper stills, called Tom and Mary, which are used in the production, date back to 1830 and have been joined by the younger Henry and Victoria as production increased. They are named in honour of English monarchs who have always appreciated this UK-made speciality drink.
Bombay Sapphire was recently purchased by the Bacardi group, although the company leaves a great deal of independence to the production company, drawing on the advice of renowned Master of Botanicals Ivano Tonutti. The redevelopment of Laverstoke Mill has made cutting-edge changes to the structure of the old mill, expanding the horticultural facility so that the ingredients needed in production are self-produced. The face of Queen Victoria, a monarch who is deeply connected to and loved by English culture, is featured on the labels of this unique gin, whose distinctive characteristics have made it famous worldwide.