Bombay Sapphire is a brand of gin distributed by Bacardi, launched in 1987, having been named via a competitive process whereby a number of leading Madison Avenue agencies were played off against each other. The name hints at the origins of the gin's popularity in the India of the days of the British Raj and the sapphire in question is the Star of Bombay on display at the Smithsonian Institution  Bombay Sapphire is marketed in a flat-sided, sapphire-coloured bottle that bears a likeness of Queen Victoria on the label.
The flavouring of the drink comes from a recipe of ten ingredients: almond, lemon peel, liquorice, juniper berries, orris root, angelica, coriander, cassia, cubeb, and grains of paradise. The spirit is triple distilled using a carterhead still, and the alcohol vapours are passed through a mesh/basket containing the ten botanicals, in order to gain flavour and aroma. This gives a lighter, more floral gin rather than the more-common 'punchy' gins that are distilled using a copper pot still. Water from Lake Vyrnwy is added to bring the strength of Bombay Sapphire down to 40.0% (UK).
The brand started a series of design collaborations. Their first step into the design world was a series of advertisements featuring work from currently popular designers. Their works, varying from martini glasses to tiles and cloth patterns, are labelled as “Inspired by Bombay Sapphire”. The campaign featured designers like Marcel Wanders, Yves Behar, Karim Rashid, Ulla Darni, and Dror Benshetrit and performance artist Jurgen Hahn.
From the success of this campaign, the company started a series of events and sponsored locations. The best known is the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition, held each year, where design students from all over the world can participate by designing their own “inspired” martini cocktail glass. The finalists (one from each participating country) are then invited to the yearly Salone del Mobile, an international design fair in Milano, where the winner is chosen.
Bombay Sapphire also endorses glass artists and designers with the Bombay Sapphire Prize, which is awarded every year to an outstanding design which features glass. Bombay Sapphire also showcases the designers' work in the Bombay Sapphire endorsed blue room, which is actually a design exhibition touring the world each year.
From 2008 the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition final will be held at 100% Design in London, UK and the Bombay Sapphire Prize will take place in Milan at the Salone Del Mobile.
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