Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.
London designer Thomas Heatherwick designed a cauldron that was made up of 205 steel pipes and copper petals, which were engraved with the names of competing nations. Each petal was carried by a member of the competing nation and put in place.
For Bombay Sapphire, Heatherwick has designed a dstillery with a botanical glass house as its centre piece.
Bacardi is to restore a building that used to make bank note paper. The site is to be renovated from a derelict mill into a “state of the art premium gin distillery and visitor centre encompassing the highest standards in design, functionality and sustainability”.
The distillery is to be built on a two hectare site, 60 miles from London and will include a glass house for bontanicals.
Heatherwick said: “As the particular flavours of Bombay Sapphire gin are derived from ten botanicals, the centerpiece of the site is a glass house, within which visitors will experience the specific horticultural specimens infused in the spirit. The glass house, influenced by Britain's rich heritage of glass house structures, will be two separate structures providing both a humid environment for spices that originate from the tropics, as well as a dry temperate zone for Mediterranean plants. We are thrilled to have the chance to take this historic site, and turn it from its current derelict state into a new industrial facility with national significance.”
The 10 year relationship between the brand and Thomas Heatherwick started when he was crowned the inaugural winner of the Bombay Sapphire Prize – an international award for excellence and innovation in glass. He was approached to design the distillery in 2010.
Bombay Sapphire global category director John Burke said: “It’s a very exciting time for the Bombay Sapphire team, especially now that we’re seeing our plan for Laverstoke Mill come into fruition. With tradition, quality and craftsmanship at the heart of the site’s heritage, we can finally look forward to opening our doors to consumers worldwide and share with them the care, skill and imagination that is infused in the spirit we produce. Bombay Sapphire gin has experienced great success and growth over the last 10 years and with the opening of the brand’s home and consumer experience, we are very optimistic for next decade.”
In February 2012, planning permission to restore Laverstoke was granted and building is now underway. The distillery is to open its doors in autumn 2013. Bacardi declined to say exactly how much it is investing in the project.