Bombay Sapphire is now distilled at Laverstoke Mill in Whitchurch Hampshire. In order to visit the distillery tickets have to be booked online.
The site is on the River Test and has been lovingly restored from a vacant industrial site with a 1,000 year’s history. Bank note paper being the last products to be produced until the mill closed back in 2005.The mill was opened to the public in 2014.
We chose to go on “the self discovery experience’. We received an interactive map which when touched close by speakers scattered around the site triggered a description of where you were onsite. In the botanical dry room we received a talk on the distilling process and a through the Q&A understand the differences between ‘London Gin’ and other gins. The site receives its ingredients including the botanicals from the nearby docks in Southampton and the resulting gin is then shipped to the bottling plant where it is cut to the required alcoholic strength and bottled before being exported.
The River Test runs through the site and is so clean that not only could we see swans and their offspring but a closer look revealed trout swimming lazily along.
Here are the main stills in the India House.
The history of Bombay Sapphire
In one of the buildings is a fascinating display that details the history of Bombay Sapphire.
Bombay Sapphire botanical dry room
Access to the Dakin Still House was closed when we visited as work was in progress on the historical stills but we could see the stills and the guys working carefully on their maintenance.
In the room there were tables with the botanical ingredients laid out for us the smell. For ingredients that we particularly liked we ‘punched’ a hole in our interactive guide.
During our time in the room we had a lively talk on how the gin is distilled and the botanicals that are infused to make Bombay Sapphire a ‘London Gin’.
The Mediterranean Glasshouse
The Mediterranean Glasshouse sits alongside the River Test and contains examples of the plants that make up the botanicals in the gin.
Here are some of the plants and flowers inside the Mediterranean Glasshouse
Here are more views of the Mediterranean Glasshouse.
The Mill Bar
The Mill Bar had been a strong room for storing bank note paper but it is now a bar with a mezzanine.
In the botanical dry room I had punched the smells of the base ingredients that I liked the most and from those a suitable cocktail was chosen for me – Bramble.
The view outside the Mill Bar with the river running alongside.