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played off

Bombay Sapphire

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 gin's popularity in the British Raj. 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, and the alcohol vapours are passed through bundles of the herbs and spices in order to gain flavour and aroma. Then, water from Lake Vyrnwy is added.

Design Connection

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 trendy designers like Marcel Wanders, Yves Behar and Karim Rashid.

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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