Think of it as like Disney for grown ups. And the best bit is that it is only an hour away at Laverstoke Mill: Bombay Sapphire Distillery
Did you know that ALL the Bombay Sapphire gin made in the world is made in one factory in Hampshire? If you don’t you are not alone. I had no idea but then I didn’t really know much about gin production until I visited. I had visited another gin distillery but on a much smaller scale and they make their gin very differently from Bombay Sapphire.
Bombay Sapphire is the only gin in the world where the botanicals are added to the vapour, rather that the liquid.
You start the tour in the botanical dry room where there are 22 different aromas for you to sniff out. As you sniff each one you mark on your interactive guide which ones you like. 90% of what we taste comes from what we smell. I could have spent hours in here, lifting the lids of jars and seeing if I liked them or not.
The choices you make about what you like and don’t like shapes your bespoke gin cocktail at the end of the tour (included in the price or if you are driving you can collect a gin and tonic take away pack from the shop).
Once you have toured the Dakin still houseand listened to your guide tell you all there is to know about gin production (gin capital of the country? Warrington since you asked) and the history of gin, you move outside to the glasshouses. Sadly we couldn’t really hear our guide explaining about the botanicals and the light was appalling given it was tipping it down with rain so you just have to take my word for it that the greenhouse is full of examples of the plants used in the production of Bombay Sapphire. Clearly it is not their source of plants, they get through tonnes of the stuff every year and import from all over the world but it is lovely little snapshot of what goes into making gin.
Which starts off as vodka. Yep, all gin is vodka when it starts. Law dictates that the predominate botanical (the mix of peels, berries, bark and seeds) is juniper but the other botanicals are mixed according to secret recipes held by each gin house. Bombay Sapphire is a mix of juniper, coriander, lemon peel, angelica, orris root, liquorice, almond, cassia bark, cubeb berries and grains of paradise. Most of which I have never heard of!
You also get to see the history of the bottles, glassware and some incredible prints depicting gin from the past. Then it is off to the bar for your bespoke cocktail.
We were then treated to a cocktail master class with self-professsed Professor of gin, Sam Carter. Sam showed us how to make the ultimate gin and tonic and how to make a chocolate tasting gin drink that contains no chocolate. What he doesn’t know about gin isn’t worth knowing quite frankly
This is a great way to spend a morning, there is plenty of onsite parking and wheelchair access too. Well worth a visit if you are ever in Hampshire.
Window Wednesday is my weekly look through a window I have recently loved.
Can hardly see the keyboard. My eyes are misting over.
What an amazing way to spend a morning – or two – or more!
I can imagine a big business opportunity here – organised tours from the four corners of the realm.
Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, No. 86 and Bombay Sapphire.
What a prospect!