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  • Brian Tasch

French Dry Vermouth Tasting Guide

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

Joseph Noilly is credited with creating what we know today as dry vermouth in 1813. Noilly Prat, while one of the most recognizable vermouth brands, is a bit of an outlier even within the French dry category on account of its salinic, oxidative flavors. Vermouth de Chambery style vermouths tend to be brighter and fruitier.


Many consider dry vermouth and French vermouth to be synonymous with each other. In old cocktail books, this was often the case. But while the French introduced the drier Chambery style of vermouth to the world as well as the first blanc, most vermouth producers these days will release dry, sweet white, and sweet red styles, making the French vs. Italian designation more or less obsolete.


That said, the French dry vermouths I've tasted still tend to represent the classic Chambery style nicely. They're lighter, drier, and notably less bitter than their Italian counterparts. French dry vermouths also have an emphasis on more delicate, floral botanicals.


Overall, I've found the French are still consistently making the best dry vermouth.


There isn't a single bottle on this list I wouldn't recommend. Standout vermouths include the industry-standard Dolin Dry, the non-traditional La Quintinye Extra Dry, and Maurin's slightly heavier Dry offering.


If you're new to the world of vermouth, check out my Introduction to Vermouth post to learn some basics, introduce yourself to some of the terminology used, and get a general overview of how these guides are structured (and why). Then join me back here to get into the details!


Boissiere Extra Dry

Origin: Italy (France from 1857 to 1971)

Producer: Boissiere, distributed by Palm Bay International

ABV: 18%

Wine Base: N/A

Known Botanicals: at least 8, wormwood, gentian, elderflower, bitter orange, iris, chamomile, gentian, coriander

Sugar: N/A, presumably < 30 g/l

Nose: pineapple, lychee, rose

Palate: white raspberry, gentian, coriander, orange blossom, cumin

Finish: gentian, raspberry, orange blossom, dandelion

Additional Notes: Crystalline appearance. Bone-dry, bright, and acidic with a very thin body. A Chambery style vermouth originally produced in France from 1857 until 1971 when production moved to Turin, Italy. Because of this, I've opted to include Boissiere in both my French and Italian guides.


Dolin Dry

Origin: France

Producer: Dolin, distributed by Haus Alpenz

ABV: 17.5%

Wine Base: Jacquere, Ugni Blanc/Trebbiano

Known Botanicals: 17 total, wormwood, brooklime, rose, orange bark, verbena, yellow genepi

Sugar: 30 g/l

Nose: oregano, basil, pineapple, lychee, dry forest, cinnamon

Palate: pineapple, oregano, grass, green apple, lemon, mugwort, lime

Finish: marjoram, lemon verbena, pineapple, walnut, faint wormwood, nutmeg

Additional Notes: Golden color with a light-green tinge. Claims to be the only remaining producer of Vermouth de Chambery. Medium body. The embodiment of the Chambery style and the benchmark for most dry vermouth. Light, complex flavors balance fruit and savory herbs with very little bitterness. It generally mixes well with everything.


La Quintinye Extra Dry Vermouth Royal

Origin: France

Producer: La Quintinye

ABV: 17%

Wine Base: Ugni Blanc/Trebbiano

Known Botanicals: 27 total, wormwood, angelica, cinnamon bark, quassia amara, ginger, green cardamom, vine flower, licorice, iris root, bitter orange, nutmeg, cinchona

Sugar: N/A

Nose: pine, sap, lemon, rosemary, lavender

Palate: rosemary, sage, licorice, orange, chamomile, nutmeg

Finish: rosemary, wormwood, lemon oil, eucalyptus, forest floor musk

Additional Notes: Vibrant golden color. Pineau des Charentes used in addition to neutral grape spirit to fortify. A very bold, piney vermouth with a light, oily body. Incredible stuff, but trickier to mix with since it doesn't fit a traditional dry vermouth profile. I found it to be overpowering in just about every classic cocktail I tried it in. That said, it shines in spritzes and makes for an excellent wintery modifier.


Maurin Dry

Origin: France

Producer: Maurin, distributed by Pacific Edge Wine & Spirits

ABV: 17%

Wine Base: N/A

Known Botanicals: at least 9, wormwood, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, gentian, orange, cardamom, lemon

Sugar: N/A

Nose: orange, rosemary, cinnamon, pine, gentian

Palate: orange, gentian, peach, lemon oil, cognac, cranberry, cinnamon

Finish: orange, cinnamon, sage, nutmeg

Additional Notes: Light orange color. Very confectionary, an outlier in the French dry category.


Noilly Prat Extra Dry

Origin: France

Producer: Noilly Prat, distributed by Bacardi Limited

ABV: 18%

Wine Base: Clairette

Known Botanicals: 14 total, wormwood, chamomile, nutmeg, bitter orange, gentian, raspberry

Sugar: 35 g/

Nose: raisin, orange, green apple, peach, rose, chamomile, pear, lemon, cinchona

Palate: lemon, raisin, white tea, chamomile, coriander, bay leaf, orange, green apple, raspberry

Finish: pineapple, cinchona, raspberry, chamomile, bay leaf, white leaf, cherry blossom

Additional Notes: Faint straw yellow appearance. A response to the popularity of the bone-dry martini and vodka martinis, this vermouth was made for the American market. Reformulated and arguably improved in 2020.


Noilly Prat Extra Dry (discontinued formula)

Origin: France

Producer: Noilly Prat, distributed by Bacardi Limited

ABV: 18%

Wine Base: Clairette

Known Botanicals: 14 total, wormwood, chamomile, nutmeg, bitter orange, gentian, raspberry

Sugar: 29 g/

Nose: lemon, mango, peach, hay, green apple, bay leaf, chamomile, papaya

Palate: lemon, cinchona, apple, grass, pear, chamomile, white pepper

Finish: lemon, cinchona, apple, raisin, grass, faint wormwood, white pepper, dandelion

Additional Notes: As of 2020, this formula was discontinued and replaced with a brighter, fruitier, more acidic expression. Almost clear in color. Bone dry with light acidity. A response to the popularity of the bone-dry Martini and vodka Martinis, this vermouth was made for the American market.


Noilly Prat Original Dry

Origin: France

Producer: Noilly Prat, distributed by Bacardi Limited

ABV: 18%

Wine Base: Picpoul, Clairette

Known Botanicals: 20 total, wormwood, chamomile, nutmeg, bitter orange, gentian, raspberry, coriander, cardamom, elderflower, centaury, clove

Sugar: 35 g/l

Nose: peach, white pepper, tarragon, coriander, chamomile, lemon, cinnamon, raspberry, elderflower

Palate: elderflower, chamomile, orange, cinnamon, wormwood, lemon, raspberry

Finish: orange, peach, chamomile, elderflower, coriander, tarragon, wormwood, gentian

Additional Notes: Straw yellow color. Oily texture with a medium-light body. Fruity and spiced. Tons of elderflower and chamomile. Salinic.


Noilly Prat Original Dry (discontinued formula)

Origin: France

Producer: Noilly Prat, distributed by Bacardi Limited

ABV: 18%

Wine Base: Picpoul, Clairette

Known Botanicals: 20 total, wormwood, chamomile, nutmeg, bitter orange, gentian, raspberry, coriander, cardamom, elderflower, centaury, clove

Sugar: 40 g/l

Nose: tarragon, orange, chamomile, sherry, pear, millet, coriander, fig

Palate: orange, underripe pear, coriander, wormwood, tree bark, hay, nutmeg, butterscotch, gentian

Finish: tarragon, nutmeg, wormwood, lemon, chamomile, coriander, Sichuan peppercorn, hay

Additional Notes: As of 2020, this formula has been discontinued and replaced by a lighter, fruitier update by the same name. Rich, golden straw colored. Oily texture with a medium body. One of my favorite mixing vermouths as it plays well with most spirits and its sugar content helps it hold up to dilution. I find it especially successful in any shaken cocktail which calls for dry vermouth (i.e., Clover Club, Scofflaw, etc.).


Routin Dry

Origin: France

Producer: Distillerie des Alpes

ABV: 16.9%

Wine Base: Sauvignon, Jacquere

Known Botanicals: 17 total, wormwood, rose petals, juniper, rosemary, bitter almond

Sugar: 24 g/l

Nose: raisin, pineapple, orange, Pineau des Charantes, apple, sage, lemon

Palate: wormwood, apple, sage, juniper, rose, orange, raisin, fig, lemon, bark

Finish: wormwood, lemon, rose, savory, lavender, sage, tarragon, stemmy

Additional Notes: Light rosy orange color. Fantastic, but requires a bit of rejiggering in classics as it is particularly bitter and salinic. Tends to echo the juniper notes in gin.


Will accept donations for any missing vermouths.


Vermouth Guides


Check the individual regional Vermouth guides for more detailed information on regional styles and recommended bottles:


Dry Vermouth


French Dry Vermouth

Italian Dry Vermouth

Spanish Dry Vermouth

American Dry Vermouth

The Complete Guide to Dry Vermouth


Sweet White Vermouth


French Sweet White Vermouth

Italian Sweet White Vermouth

Spanish Sweet White Vermouth

American Sweet White Vermouth

The Complete Guide to Sweet White Vermouth


Sweet Red Vermouth


Italian Sweet Red Vermouth

French Sweet Red Vermouth

Spanish Sweet Red Vermouth

American Sweet Red Vermouth

The Complete Guide to Sweet Red Vermouth

Quinquina and Americano


The Complete Guide to Quinquina and Americano


Please send updates and corrections to brian@corpserevived.com.

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