In a nutshell: A delicate aroma and dry rounded flavour is the hallmark of this revered French white vermouth
The lowdown: Noilly Prat's Original Dry is made in pretty much the same way since the mid-1800s. Base wine using two of the Languedoc's main grapes, Picpoul and Clairette is matured in oak casks, at first indoors, then outdoors for a year exposing it to the salty air of the southern French coast through all the seasons. It's then fortified and macerated with their blend of 20 herbs and spices. On the nose it's got herbal aromas with a hint of camomile and the dry palate lets the complex array of spices shine through, finishing with a graceful bitterness.
When to drink: An obvious choice for a Dry Martini and also very good simply served on the rocks.
It was Joseph Noilly of Lyon who first came up with the recipe for his eponymous vermouth in back 1813. From then and through the next 2 centuries the brand has grown and expanded to take its place among the best known vermouths in the world. The company, now based in the small town of Marseillan on the Langudeoc coast between Montpellier and Narbonne, is actually a part of the Bacardi-Martini drinks conglomerate.