Last Updated on October 26, 2023 by Lydia Martin
Drinking vibrant and botanical gin cocktails all year round is always a good and refreshing experience. And there’s a fantastic variety of recipes where the ingredients blend to a harmonious and refreshing flavor.
Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire are two London dry gin brands with their strength and distinctive flavors that I always use for crafting cocktails. Although these two gins are on the affordable side, many patrons always ask which one is better.
Here is a detailed side-by-side comparison of Tanqueray vs Bombay.
Which is Better, Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray Gin?
Tanqueray is better than Bombay Dry Gin if you want a versatile gin to mix with your cocktail and mixed drinks. Although the flavor profile between these two brands depends on personal preference, Tanqueray has juniper-heavy flavors and more kicks than Bombay.
Gin & Tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire.” – Winston Churchill, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Tanqueray and Bombay share British roots, but Tanqueray has a longer legacy dating back to 1830.
Bombay Sapphire vs Tanqueray Gin Cheat Sheet
|Type||London Dry Gin||London Dry Gin|
|Country||England (Originated), Scotland (Current production)||England|
|Distillation||Four times||Vapor infusion method|
|Botanicals||Coriander, angelica root, juniper, and licorice||Juniper, angelica root, cassia bark, bitter almond, coriander, cubeb berries, orris root, licorice, lemon peel, and grains of paradise|
|Availability||Widely available||Widely available|
|Distillery||Cameron Bridge Distillery||Bombay Sapphire (Laverstoke Mill) Distillery|
|Signature Serve||Dry Martini, Gin Sour, and Tanqueray and Tonic||Dry Martini, Gin Gin Mule, and Gin and Tonic|
|Popular Variants||Tanqueray London Dry Gin, Tanqueray No. 10, Rangpur Gin, and Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla||Bombay Sapphire Gin, Bombay Dry Gin, Bombay Sapphire East, and Bombay Bramble|
|Awards||Double Golds (San Francisco World Spirits Competition) and World’s 50 Best Bars||Double Gold and Gold (San Francisco World Spirits Competition)|
|Garnish||Wedge of lime||Slice of lemon/lime|
History & Origin
Charles Tanqueray set up Tanqueray in London, but it was moved to Cameron Bridge Distillery in Scotland. The same distillery produces single-grain whisky, contributing to Johnnie Walker and other well-loved brands like Smirnoff Vodka and Gordon’s Gin.
Bombay Sapphire, established in 1987, was relatively young, though it has significantly established its reputation in a shorter span.
Owner & Manufacturer
Tanqueray is under Diageo, the company behind well-known alcoholic beverages like Ketel One, Casamigos, Guinness, Baileys, and more.
On the other hand, Bacardi Limited produces Bombay, Patron, Bacardi, Grey Goose, St. Germain, and more.
As mentioned, these two gins are among the most popular brands in the liquor industry. If we base it on sales of the gin market, Tanqueray wins this category as it recorded 5.5 million 9-liter cases sold globally in 2022 .
However, although a Bombay Sapphire gin has a lower sales record, the difference is minimal. It recorded 5.2 million 9-liter cases sold globally in 2022.
The two brands have various products offering different alcohol content by volume.
Tanqueray London Dry Gin and Tanqueray No. 10 offer a high alcohol content of 47.3% ABV. Tanqueray Rangpur Gin has 41.3% ABV, and Malacca Gin has 40%.
But if you prefer to drink a gin with a regular proof, Bombay Sapphire East has 42% ABV, and Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin has 40% ABV. Meanwhile, Bombay Dry Gin and Ramble each contain 37.5%.
With just four botanicals, Tanqueray London Dry Gin is known for its bold, juniper-forward flavor with subtle citrus hints. Although other variants feature different flavor profiles, Tanqueray London Dry Gin is versatile, making it my ultimate go-to for any cocktail.
As for Bombay Sapphire, it offers floral and citrus notes, featuring juniper berries as its signature ingredient, along with other botanicals. I could also trace spicy and earthy flavors in Bombay.
Tanqueray leans towards a classic dryness, while Bombay Sapphire has a slightly softer, more approachable dryness. Tanqueray has a juniper-forward flavor and was distilled four times, so it’s not really surprising that it has that classic dryness of a London Dry Gin.
As for Bombay Sapphire, its vapor infusion method gave it a more gentle flavor profile.
So, if you want drier classic gins, Tanqueray would be an excellent gin choice.
Use in Cocktails
The different flavor profiles of Tanqueray and Bombay make them a unique addition to cocktail drinks. Tanqueray is one that I often use to craft classic gin cocktails like Gin and Tonic, Dry Martini (Tanqueray Martini), and Negroni.
Of course, I also use Bombay Dry Gin for recipes like Gin and Tonic and Dry Martini.
The strong flavors of juniper complemented other mixers like sweet vermouth/dry vermouth and Campari.
Spiced vs Classic
Tanqueray embodies the classic London dry gin flavor, while Bombay introduces spice notes with its botanical infusion.
Tanqueray suits those who appreciate strong juniper notes, while Bombay Sapphire embodies a complex flavor profile.
Bombay Sapphire has a unique blend of sweet, pepper, and citrus flavors caused by its botanicals like orris root, lemon peel, angelica root, juniper, and licorice.
Price Point & Value
Tanqueray and Bombay Dry gins offer budget-friendly options for those seeking quality without breaking the bank. Tanqueray ranges from $20 to $50, depending on the bottle size and variant.
“Tanqueray embodies the classic, while Bombay offers a contemporary twist.” – Liquor Laboratory
On the other hand, Bombay Dry Gin also falls in the same price range as Tanqueray, ranging from $20 to $40.
Is Tanqueray gin considered top shelf?
No, although Tanqueray has a long and colorful history, it is not considered a top shelf. Unlike The Botanist and Plymouth Gin, Tanqueray is more likely a mid-shelf brand.
Is Bombay Sapphire a cheap gin?
No, Bombay Sapphire is not a cheap gin. It is approximately $35, which falls in the mid-range prices.
Is Tanqueray gin a premium gin?
Yes, Tanqueray is a premium gin, considering its long history and exceptional quality, presenting the classic juniper taste of a London dry gin.
Why is Tanqueray so popular?
Tanqueray is popular among many gin drinkers because it goes well with any gin cocktail recipe you want to make .
It has the classic juniper-forward flavor profile with subtle citrus hints, making it suitable for a wide range of cocktails.
Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire are London dry gins with unique charms, making them essential bottles for many bars.
In terms of history, popularity, and stronger alcoholic drinks, Tanqueray is the winner. It also has that classic juniper-heavy flavor profile and a versatile character that can accompany any gin cocktail recipe.
However, Bombay dry gin produced a softer flavor with floral notes and a cheaper price range. It also offers a complicated spiced taste, making it a suitable drink for beginners.