Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Martyn White

Posted on August 09 2016

Touring the Bombay Sapphire distillery, located at Laverstoke Mill, Whitchurch with contemporary glass green houses designed by Thomas Heatherwick.

Being such a huge fan of Bombay Sapphire and passionately following the development of Laverstoke Mill with its new addition green houses designed by Thomas Heatherwick, I was ecstatic to receive an invitation to visit the distillery at and experience what it had to offer. Combining gin, architecture, rich history and very exciting future plans, the visit was an experience that I will never forget, one I am incredibly thankful to have been a part of it. 

Bombay Sapphire Distillery, Laverstock UKBombay Sapphire distillery tourModern architecture by Thomas Heatherwick Bombay Sapphire distillery

Surrounded by the scenic Hampshire countryside, the distillery opened in its new location during 2014 after a huge restoration project, restoring the 300 year old mill and the grounds to their former glory. As we arrived on site, we were introduced to the team that would be hosting us for the day and given a refreshing gin and tonic to cool us down from the Summer sun. Everything about the location was perfect, from the stunning architecture to the friendliness and service of the staff. 

Modern glass architecture at the Bombay Sapphire distillery designed by Thomas HeatherwickBeautiful modern glass architecture growing botanicals at the Bombay Sapphire gin distillery

Bombay Sapphire glass greenhouses designed by Thomas Heatherwick

Cutting through the centre of the site is the River Test, an icon in itself with crystal clear waters unlike any I have seen before. The river is also where the new glass houses designed by Thomas Heatherwick are located, visually connecting the distillery to the waters of the river in historical reference to the mill's 300 year history. These incredible flowing structures house each of the botanicals used to flavour the gin. Three of the botanicals grow in the tropical house whilst the other seven are located in the larger Mediterranean house. 

Touring the Bombay Sapphire distilleryBombay Sapphire botanicals on display at the distilleryBombay Sapphire Tour

After seeing the botanicals growing in the glass houses, it was time to move on to the dry room, where we had the chance to interact with and learn more about the botanicals in their dry state before they are introduced to the gin. This was a fascinating experience that really helps you understand the depth of the flavour. Interacting with the botanicals through touch, smell and sight lets you pin point the part of the flavouring that you like best, which in turn helps you understand the cocktail most suited to you. 

Ariana's Garden by Constanca Cordeiro, Peg & PatriotGateway to Bombay by Dean Shurry from Chiltern FirehouseWhoops Daisy by Andy Mil, Cocktail Trading CompanyG & Iced-T by Dav Eames, Gilbert ScottNature's Yield by George Simmons from Heddon Street Kitchen

To our surprise, we were taken to a space that is not associated with the general tour. The team had kept the main reason for our visit a secret. As the doors opened, smoke billowed out in cinematic style. Amongst the excitement and the smoke were six podiums, each containing an elaborate cocktail. This was the future of Bombay Sapphire. The brand had asked six of the leading mixologists from London's top bars and restaurants to create a new and impressive gin based cocktail. Inspired by the ten botanicals, it was the mixologist's task to create a cocktail that plays with the classic compounds of the gin & tonic whilst using their trademark, innovative style Click below to find out more about the mixologists and the cocktails they created. 

The Bombay Sapphire cocktails

If you would like to find out more about the Bombay Sapphire distillery, its tours, tickets and opening times, click HERE to be taken to the official website. 


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