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  • Writer's pictureBrian Tasch

Spanish Dry Vermouth Tasting Guide

Updated: Jul 7, 2021

Often overlooked in the bar and cocktail world until recently, Spanish vermouth is wildly popular in Spain. The most widely consumed Spanish vermouths are produced in the Reus region. However, Vermouth de Reus is not a designation recognized by the EU.

Spanish dry vermouths tend to be the driest in the entire category and salinic to boot as a result of their typically sherry wine base.

Before I started this tasting guide, my experience with Spanish vermouth was minimal as Italian, French, and even offerings from the USA will occupy most bar and restaurant menus. Thankfully, this trend is beginning to change as of the last few years, and I highly encourage exploration of the category.

As for recommended bottlings, there isn't a ton on the market. What is available tends to be extremely dry and salinic, with qualities akin to fino sherry. My personal favorites on this brief list is Gonzalez Byass Extra Seco and Lacuesta Extra Dry, but you can't go wrong with any of these bottles. BCN's releases in particular are unlike any other dry vermouth I've ever tasted, and I highly recommend the Ambar Mediterranean Dry.

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!

BCN Vermut Ambar Mediterranean Dry

Origin: Spain

Producer: BCN

ABV: 18%

Wine Base: Garnacha Blanca

Known Botanicals: At least 13: wormwood, clove, angelica, cinnamon, orange peel, elderflower, juniper, rosemary, vanilla, laurel, thyme, fennel, pine shoots

Sugar: N/A

Nose: sandalwood, vanilla, myrrh, cinnamon, sage, rose, orange, mint, clove, strawberry

Palate: wormwood, cinnamon, lemon, clove, thyme, fennel, eucalyptus, strawberry, vanilla

Finish: wormwood, eucalyptus, cedar, cinnamon, oregano, orange, vanilla, clove

Additional Notes: Deep copper color. Fortified with brandy distilled from Cariñena and Garnacha Blanca. Medium body. Clove and wormwood dominate from start to finish. Very bitter with a drying, moreish quality. Dilution brings out a lot of vanilla.

BCN Vermut Negre Barrel-Aged Mediterranean Dry

Origin: Spain

Producer: BCN

ABV: 18%

Wine Base: Garnacha Blanca

Known Botanicals: At least 13: wormwood, clove, angelica, cinnamon, orange peel, elderflower, juniper, rosemary, vanilla, laurel, thyme, fennel, pine shoots

Sugar: N/A

Nose: licorice, lemon, cinnamon, butterscotch, sarsaparilla, amaretto, sandalwood, bitter orange, cherry, vanilla, nutmeg

Palate: toffee, cedar, mushroom, wormwood, coffee, lemon, mint, juniper, cinnamon, cherry, white pepper

Finish: cherry, vanilla, cinnamon, toffee, coffee, ash, mushroom, juniper, almond, hay

Additional Notes: Deep red-tinted brown appearance. Barrel-aged between 9 and 12 months. Limited Edition (600-1000 bottles). Fortified with brandy distilled from Cariñena and Garnacha Blanca. Mineral and salinic with a medium-light body. Lots of Dr. Pepper/cherry cola notes with plenty of wormwood and toffee throughout. Reminded me a bit of the profile of amari like Amargo Vallet. Vanilla comes through prominently when mixed.

Gonzalez Byass Extra Seco

Origin: Spain

Producer: González Byass, distributed by Gonzalez Byass UK

ABV: 17%

Wine Base: Palomino

Known Botanicals: 6 total, wormwood, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, orange peel, savory

Sugar: 28 g/l

Nose: cinnamon, lemon, orange, clove, fino sherry, walnut, pine

Palate: wormwood, cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin, clove, rosemary, cranberry, sea salt

Finish: clove, pumpkin, fino sherry, sea salt, orange, nutty

Additional Notes: Very pale with a slight yellow tinge. The sherry base is evident. A little more tart than bitter. Great on its own or in Martinis, though it doesn't hold up particularly well to dilution.

Lacuesta Extra Dry

Origin: Spain

ABV: 14.96%

Wine Base: N/A

Known Botanicals: at least 20, wormwood

Sugar: 28.8 g/l

Nose: lemon, wormwood, cinnamon, orange, chamomile, bay leaf, tarragon, pine, banana

Palate: lemon, orange, wormwood, raisin, cinnamon, grapefruit, sea salt, chamomile, pine

Finish: lemon, wormwood, cinchona, green apple, cinnamon, raisin, faint licorice

Additional Notes: Light straw yellow with a faint green hue. Seemingly the same product as Lacuesta Blanco, but with less added sugar. Extremely dry and salinic with a drying finish brought on by a sustained lingering bitterness. Dilution brings out tons of cinnamon and raisin notes which peek through into cocktails when mixed. Like many Spanish dry vermouths, there are big fino sherry vibes.

Miro Extra Dry

Origin: Spain

Producer: Vermuts Miró

ABV: 17%

Wine Base: Airen (75%), Macabeo (25%)

Known Botanicals: wormwood

Sugar: N/A

Nose: basil, tomato, juniper, oregano

Palate: lemon pith, bark, green apple, mineralic, black pepper

Finish: salinic, mineralic, olive brine, underripe stone fruit

Additional Notes: Pale straw color. Vermouth de Reus. Drinks like a fino sherry. Extremely salinic. No added sugar – consequently bone dry with a very light body. Doesn't really hold up to dilution.

Yzaguirre Dry

Origin: Spain

ABV: 18%

Wine Base: Macabeo

Known Botanicals: at least 80, including wormwood, coriander, cinchona, juniper, dittany, cardamom, cinnamon, orange peel, quassia, sage, yarrow, rhubarb, thyme, lemon peel, chamomile, rose

Sugar: N/A

Nose: sea salt, raisin, pear, fig, orange, cinnamon, cooked rhubarb, mint

Palate: lemon, white peach, chamomile, cinchona, fino sherry, rhubarb

Finish: straw, lemon, oak, mushroom, cinnamon, sea salt, rhubarb

Additional Notes: Straw yellow color. Aged 12 months in sherry casks which imparts a nutty salinity. Glycerin added for texture. Bright, bitter, and busy palate that punches hard and fast before receding into a drying bitter. Drinks almost like an aromatized sherry.

Will accept donations of any missing vermouths.

Vermouth Guides

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

Dry Vermouth

Sweet White Vermouth

Sweet Red Vermouth

Quinquina and Americano

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