Take it to the Source: Bombay Sapphire's chief botanist on the journeys behind each bottle
Botanical expert Ivano Tonutti and his journeys around the world are crucial to the sustainable sourcing process of Bombay Sapphire's ingredients
When it comes to sourcing ingredients, there's no substitute for first-hand experience. After all, each of Bombay Sapphire's botanicals has a crucial role to play in the finished flavour – and each of them has something to say about the region it's sourced from – which means no half-measures can be taken.
Whether it's liquorice from China, cassia bark from Vietnam, grains of paradise from Ghana or angelica from Germany, all of the ingredients used to make Bombay Sapphire are harvested in small batches by trusted suppliers.
There's a reason that these botanicals can be trusted for their quality and provenance: a man with more than 30 years' experience in sourcing, who spends his days hunting down the best botanicals available to use in Bombay Sapphire's range of gins.
His name is Ivano Tonutti, and he's a master of botanicals like no other. He's responsible for every part of the process, from sourcing and procuring the ten botanicals to maintaining the close, friendly and respectful relationships with the brand's suppliers.
It's a job that takes him all over the world, from Western Europe to Indonesia, West Africa and beyond. And it's not just a love of travel that means he's there in person to vouch for his ingredients: it's also to ensure the ethics of the whole operation are watertight.
Some of Bombay Sapphire's suppliers have been cultivating their land for hundreds of years
Ivano might have experience that goes back three decades, but the traditions of some of his suppliers go back far longer – some of them have even been cultivating their land and their products for hundreds of years. And maintaining these relationships with a personal touch ensures not only that the supply chain is rock-solid and mutually beneficial now, but for generations to come, too.
Ivano's view on ethical sourcing echoes that of Bombay Sapphire itself: the brand's ethos is to enrich the people and places who in turn enrich the spirit with flavour; to invest in local economies and carry on relationships that give, as well as take.
The upshot of this is a gin unlike any other: one with a master of botanicals whose experience outweighs anyone in the industry; whose flavours can tell a thousand stories about people and cultures, methods and ingredients around the world in a single sip.
And that’s what's at the heart of the Gin of Ten Journeys. For each botanical, there's a relationship with a supplier; there's a journey to the heart of the ingredient's habitat; there's an investment in ensuring that relationship and that environment for years to come.
Drinking Bombay Sapphire in a martini or a gin & tonic, it's easy to forget that within the complex flavour of the spirit, there are many factors at work. There are farmers in Java hand-harvesting cubeb berries, and there are lemons peeled almost effortlessly in one go in Murcia. And in every case, there's a working relationship as beautifully balanced as the spirit itself.
For more information visit bombaysapphire.com