There’s not much different about Bombay Sapphire East save two new botanicals— at the time in 2011, note that these were still somewhat adventurous— lemongrass and Vietnamese peppercorn. The things that are the same are the core set of botanicals, the distillation through vapor infusion in their signature Carterhead still.
But it’s also worth noting that East set the stage for a whole host of Asian inspired brand extensions that would happen in the following decade.
Just as in 1987 when Sapphire pushed the boundaries of classic-style gin; Bombay Sapphire East was on the cutting edge in 2011 and predicted a bit where the category was heading.
Black pepper feels almost like the primary flavor in Bombay Sapphire East when sipped neat. It compliments the mellow juniper backbone fantastically.
Chilled, but still not mixed, you begin to get a bit more of the lemongrass and the herbals underneath. It’s here that Bombay Sapphire East begins to taste a lot like its older brother Bombay Sapphire. The lemon/citrus notes are a little more muted here. There’s a nutty sweetness, I think its a combination of the almond and the cassia bark that come together to create a flavor that I think is both, but neither simultaneously. It may be the addition of the two new botanicals, but I feel that East is more balanced and a bit more complex.