Did you know that Bombay Sapphire is made in Hampshire? On the banks of the river Test, Laverstoke Mill is home to Bombay Sapphire. On the site of an old paper mill, the buildings have been sympathetic restored and with the wonderful addition of magnificent curved glass houses, now well associated as part of the home of Bombay Sapphire.
Bombay Sapphire won a BREEAM award for back in 2014. They have sympathetically restored Listed Buildings, installed a biomass boiler to produce energy. Genuinely made attempts to make sustainability become a core part of their business. I was impressed to hear them speak of a blanket ban on plastic straws from the premises. Bombay Sapphire emphasis how they recycle and reuse as much as possible, even the ingredients used in the distilling process are then used to help create energy. I was genuinely impressed by the effort to make the business sustainable.
The factory itself was not as big as I had imagined. The glass houses are still in very early days. While I could imagine how fabulous they will be once everything is fully established, they’re not quite as impressive as they will be in a few more years! Though I was impressed with the tiny bunch of bananas growing.. seriously!
We were given a guided tour, this was interesting as the Brand Ambassador was very enthusiastic. However, I did find myself wishing I could move on from the history of gin a bit quicker, and I wanted longer to linger by other aspects of the factory. I think if I visited again I would choose a self-guided tour. Going inside the distillery was interesting, no photographs are allowed so I can’t share any images with you. But I can say that it really was interesting to see how gin is made. The copper stills are traditional stills which have been refurbished and are like works of art. I also enjoyed seeing the meter which tell the taxman how much tax is due from production of gin! Something I’d never thought of until my visit!
Many people think of Gin, and think of Gin and Tonic. If you’re not “big” on gin, apparently it’s probably the tonic you’re not a fan of! This part of the day was fabulous, and I have to say that if you visit I’d really recommend taking a Cocktail Masterclass! We got to try the three different Bombay Sapphire gins, and they really were very different!
Then we had various tips demonstrated, things like the reason to use a bar spoon! We tasted various gin cocktails, and it was quite impressive how different each was. I adored the Laverstoke, made with ginger beer and mint leaves, it was divine! At the end of the visit, we visited the gin bar, and had a cocktail made. I opted for a non-alcoholic cocktail, and then got a takeaway gin & tonic. The non alcoholic cocktail was very sweet! I loved the decor of the bar, mostly as it reminded me of home!
The Bombay Sapphire shop was perhaps the only disappointment. Having just discussed the price of a bottle of Bombay Sapphire at Waitrose currently, we were disappointed to discover it cost more to buy it from the Bombay Sapphire shop – £2 more. A fleece blanket caught my eye in Bombay Sapphire Blue, with an embroidered logo, but the quality of the blanket was very poor and the price tag rather high.
Would I recommend a visit?
Yes, I found it very interesting and the bar is perfect for catching up with friends or perhaps date night! The cost of entry includes a cocktail. Bombay Sapphire Tickets need to be pre-booked. There is plenty of parking on site, or Bombay Sapphire is on a good bus route if you’re coming from Basingstoke or Andover.