Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of heading to London for a couple days to tour Bombay Sapphire’s Distillery at Laverstoke Mill. I honestly didn’t know a ton about gin, but I was so excited to be in the company of the Bombay Sapphire professionals, including Dr. Anne Brock, the female master distiller! This is one of those distillery tours I would recommend for nearly anyone — even those who don’t drink! The history of gin was fascinating and the architecture of Laverstoke Mill is amazing. Today I’m sharing all the details of touring Bombay Sapphire Distillery and what you can expect.
Touring Bombay Sapphire Distillery
The distillery itself opened (after restoration) in 2014 and became the sole producer of Bombay Sapphire gin in 2015. The distillery prides itself on being environmentally conscious and as ‘green’ as possible. Social responsibility is important to the entire team as well. Throughout the restoration of the mill, materials were re-used and equipment that prevents environmental detriment was utilized and installed. Our guide walked us through a ton of their sustainable initiatives and I was impressed.
The tour begins with a brief history of Bombay Sapphire and a visual timeline of gin, which I found really interesting, and it’s in a room that is glowing blue, or sapphire if you will 😉
In the same room there is a all of cocktail glasses that were made from artists around the world. Some are practical and others are completely ridiculous, which our guide was sure to point out. One of my favorites was made by an artist who took a mold of the palm of his hand and had glass made into that shape. That way, you can have a drink that looks like you’re drinking out of your palm. Pretty neat!
Bombay Sapphire Glasshouses From there, we went into the glasshouses, which is a trademark of the distillery. The enormous glass domes serve as greenhouses for Bombay Sapphire botanicals and were designed by Thomas Heatherwick. You might recognize that name as he is the architect behind “The Vessel” in NYC, among many others.
After getting to go inside both glasshouses, we ventured into the Botanical Dry Room where you can see all the botanicals used in the gin up close, as well as smell them, which I loved because I am a scent-oriented person. Dane would probably tell you my sense of smell is actually pretty annoying, because I can sniff out juuuuust about anything. I digress…Just know — this room was a highlight for me!
The next portion of our tour was seeing the gin being made up close, as well as talking to some of the quality control experts who work in the lab. This was a no-photos portion of the tour, but trust me when I tell you, the Bombay Sapphire gin that leaves Laverstoke Distillery has been tested over and over for perfection.
Finally, we got to try some cocktails — that’s what we are all here for right 😉 The distillery’s bar has a superb assortment of gin cocktails that were impressive. As someone who stupidly assumed gin only went with tonic, this was great for me. Not just for consuming, but for better understanding how other flavors work alongside the spirit.
Laverstoke Distillery is open 7 days a week and you can buy tickets in advance (there are a variety of tour options, but I highly recommend having a guide!). There is a huge parking lot, as well as a gift shop with branded accessories.
Obviously, I really enjoyed my time at Laverstoke Mill and would definitely recommend it! Psst — There are a couple surrounding pubs for a quick bite or more drinks before/after, just make sure you have a designated driver, because whoa baby — the drinks are quite strong 😉