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phlip

New Noilly Prat

85 posts in this topic

Again... if you want something that works more or less like the old US NP, seek out Dolin Dry.

I was chatting with Audrey Saunders a few nights ago, and among the million or so topics we usually cover when we're together, we touched on Noilly Prat. We agreed that the new product is a quality product with some interesting potential of its own. The problem is exactly what Phil mentions in the first post in the thread: What about the dozens of carefully-calibrated cocktails designed around the old US Noilly Prat? Those are all different now and, even if some of them work with the new formula, at the very least they all need to be recalibrated to account for the higher perceived richness, herbal character, etc. of the new product. This is a huge undertaking.

In the long run, it's nice to have another quality vermouth, and it's especially nice to have one in the Marseilles style. But, of course, it's really to bad to have lost what was an excellent product. Fortunately, Dolin is positioned to step into the breech.

Here are a few interesting questions: When did Noilly Prat begin exporting a special formula for the US? Looking at historical cocktail formulae with dry French vermouth, at what point would these have been made with a style similar to the old US version of NP? Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?

I suppose that would depend whether the creator had in mind the Chambery or Marseilles style.

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Here are a few interesting questions:  When did Noilly Prat begin exporting a special formula for the US?  Looking at historical cocktail formulae with dry French vermouth, at what point would these have been made with a style similar to the old US version of NP?  Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?

This should help. Here's the text of a 1964 ad from my archives:

VERY VERY PALE

So pale that new Noilly Prat French Vermouth is virtually invisible in your gin or vodka. Extra pale and extra dry for today's correct Martini. DON'T STIR WITHOUT NOILLY PRAT."

So. Pre-1964 (note that "new"), what we're getting now, or at least something different from the "old" one we grew up with. I say that because for all I know there may have been an intermediate stage--or there may not have been.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Here are a few interesting questions:  When did Noilly Prat begin exporting a special formula for the US?  Looking at historical cocktail formulae with dry French vermouth, at what point would these have been made with a style similar to the old US version of NP?  Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?

This should help. Here's the text of a 1964 ad from my archives:

VERY VERY PALE

So pale that new Noilly Prat French Vermouth is virtually invisible in your gin or vodka. Extra pale and extra dry for today's correct Martini. DON'T STIR WITHOUT NOILLY PRAT."

So. Pre-1964 (note that "new"), what we're getting now, or at least something different from the "old" one we grew up with. I say that because for all I know there may have been an intermediate stage--or there may not have been.

(all learned from amerines "annotated bibliography of vermouth")

this paler style was not just a noilly thing but a trend with everyone. early out the gates of WWII america was set to reclaim dominance in its vermouth market so there was tons of research on the subject. wisdom then said that you had to have a high quality, full bodied and flavorful wine base to produce a good dry vermouth. eventually the americans figured things out and tribuno dominated the domestic market. many said tribuno was the best in the world. (it was also 20% or so cheaper than the imports)

then in the early sixties articles from sources like the san fransisco wine institute said the europeans were changing their wine bases in favor of very neutral flavored wines. the americans followed suit and supposedly there was tons of different styles of dry on the market. a sources said that americans were very sensitive to color and tricks had to be used to remove it while the europeans were more tolerent.

another thing that happened concurrently was light whiskey becoming popular and new labeling guidelines to handle it... the sixties were bland times...


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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wisdom then said that you had to have a high quality, full bodied and flavorful wine base to produce a good dry vermouth.

Perhaps the US/domestic producers used full bodied and flavorful wines, but not so with the leading French vermouth producers. Their reliance on Ugni Blanc and Colombard date back to the phylloxera outbreak in the late 19th century. For both the dry and blanc styles, a light, neutral wine base was and is necessary to highlight the herbal, spice and fruit notes. For those producing a Marseilles style, cask selection and aging time/process also weighed in.


Edited by eas (log)

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Again... if you want something that works more or less like the old US NP, seek out Dolin Dry.

I was chatting with Audrey Saunders a few nights ago, and among the million or so topics we usually cover when we're together, we touched on Noilly Prat.  We agreed that the new product is a quality product with some interesting potential of its own.  The problem is exactly what Phil mentions in the first post in the thread:  What about the dozens of carefully-calibrated cocktails designed around the old US Noilly Prat?  Those are all different now and, even if some of them work with the new formula, at the very least they all need to be recalibrated to account for the higher perceived richness, herbal character, etc. of the new product.  This is a huge undertaking.

In the long run, it's nice to have another quality vermouth, and it's especially nice to have one in the Marseilles style.  But, of course, it's really to bad to have lost what was an excellent product.  Fortunately, Dolin is positioned to step into the breech.

Here are a few interesting questions:  When did Noilly Prat begin exporting a special formula for the US?  Looking at historical cocktail formulae with dry French vermouth, at what point would these have been made with a style similar to the old US version of NP?  Also, if we're looking at a cocktail recipe calling for dry French vermouth that originated in Europe, wouldn't this cocktail have been made with a vermouth like the NP we're getting now?

who is the importer? I have not seen it in Georgia and if I know the importer perhaps I can call or e-mail them to see if they have a distributor here.


in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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The importer of Dolin is Haus Alpenz. I'm not sure who the distributor is.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Quoting here from a proximate thread (because it concerns old NP):

I've taken to stocking up on old formula Noilly Prat in 375s. I know it won't keep forever ... I've developed quite an affinity for a splash of it on the rocks with a twist, as well as vermouth heavy cocktails like the Bamboo.

NP 375s keep very well in my experience (that's how I've normally bought it to have on hand). And again, dry French vermouth is handy as an herbed wine in old-fashioned cooking (like, chicken with a wine-cream sauce, pearl onions, mushrooms, serve over rice; or cold chaud-froid sauces). It was often specified in recipes, through about the 1960s.

Being old enough to remember the 1960s somewhat, I remember Vermouth was commonly ordered in US restaurants as an apéritif, then and somewhet later, compared to today. General US public also drank cocktails much more than wine then, which gradually shifted. Like cocktails, Vermouth seems to've been reborn.

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Quoting here from a proximate thread (because it concerns old NP):
I've taken to stocking up on old formula Noilly Prat in 375s. I know it won't keep forever ... I've developed quite an affinity for a splash of it on the rocks with a twist, as well as vermouth heavy cocktails like the Bamboo.

NP 375s keep very well in my experience (that's how I've normally bought it to have on hand). And again, dry French vermouth is handy as an herbed wine in old-fashioned cooking (like, chicken with a wine-cream sauce, pearl onions, mushrooms, serve over rice; or cold chaud-froid sauces). It was often specified in recipes, through about the 1960s.

Being old enough to remember the 1960s somewhat, I remember Vermouth was commonly ordered in US restaurants as an apéritif, then and somewhet later, compared to today. General US public also drank cocktails much more than wine then, which gradually shifted. Like cocktails, Vermouth seems to've been reborn.

I'm sure it'll be fine in the medium term, but I don't think I'll really want to explore what happens to Noilly Prat with ten years of bottle age.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Just so I'm clear, the older, American-only version is labeled "Original French Dry." The new (at least to the US market) formula and the one currently sold in France is labeled "Original Dry"?

Got to love that French logic.

Both say "Original French Dry". The new bottle looks quite different, with the bottle itself having a twisting part, while the original is a plain bottle.

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Quoting here from a proximate thread (because it concerns old NP):
I've taken to stocking up on old formula Noilly Prat in 375s. I know it won't keep forever ... I've developed quite an affinity for a splash of it on the rocks with a twist, as well as vermouth heavy cocktails like the Bamboo.

NP 375s keep very well in my experience (that's how I've normally bought it to have on hand). And again, dry French vermouth is handy as an herbed wine in old-fashioned cooking (like, chicken with a wine-cream sauce, pearl onions, mushrooms, serve over rice; or cold chaud-froid sauces). It was often specified in recipes, through about the 1960s.

Being old enough to remember the 1960s somewhat, I remember Vermouth was commonly ordered in US restaurants as an apéritif, then and somewhet later, compared to today. General US public also drank cocktails much more than wine then, which gradually shifted. Like cocktails, Vermouth seems to've been reborn.

I'm sure it'll be fine in the medium term, but I don't think I'll really want to explore what happens to Noilly Prat with ten years of bottle age.

i bought a couple bottles of cinzano reserva dry last year and though there is no references to them on the web, i think i've dated them to the mid nineties from a strange PR claiming an attempt to re-energize the category with the product in the canadian market.

i'd drank all but one. mainly unmixed. at ten plus years the wine is frail but not dead. there isn't much sugar to give it longevity which is probably more important than alcohol but who knows...

but similarly i've been drinking Pineau Brillet, pineau des charentes and it has a reputation for aging a bit, but floc de gascogne with a really similar alcohol, acid, sugar structure needs to be drank within a year. the floc even has a tiny born on date. i just bought one with out looking at the date and at three years old it tastes really frail if not dead. there is absolutely no fruit in the aroma as opposed to the killer apple-y Brillet. makes me wonder how my bottles of 2004 jean de lillet is doing...


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Just so I'm clear, the older, American-only version is labeled "Original French Dry." The new (at least to the US market) formula and the one currently sold in France is labeled "Original Dry"?

Got to love that French logic.

Both say "Original French Dry". The new bottle looks quite different, with the bottle itself having a twisting part, while the original is a plain bottle.

Here's the new design. Here's the old:

gallery_19804_437_499036.jpg


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Just so I'm clear, the older, American-only version is labeled "Original French Dry." The new (at least to the US market) formula and the one currently sold in France is labeled "Original Dry"?

Got to love that French logic.

Both say "Original French Dry". The new bottle looks quite different, with the bottle itself having a twisting part, while the original is a plain bottle.

Yeah, that appears to be the case now. On the website and in PR photos, however, the new bottle says "Original Dry." The bottle I just bought of the new stuff, though, does say "Original French Dry," just like the old bottle.


Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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The importer of Dolin is Haus Alpenz.  I'm not sure who the distributor is.

thx, the distributor in Georgia is (or will be) Quality. I will have to try the Dolin when I can find it.

Of course I, hopefully, have enough NP to hold us over for a little while. We go through it relatively quickly and as long as it stays sealed and at a reasonable temp I do not see a problem storing it.


in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Though I'm new to Martinis and cocktails in general, I can tell the difference between the old and the new and prefer the old. Thank goodness I found a liquor store here in town that still has quite a few bottles of the old!

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I just picked up bottles of all three Dolin vermouths (Dry, Sweet and Blanc). Can't wait to try them.

Neil H., welcome aboard and don't give up on the new Noilly too quickly! The old U.S. formula is, I think, definitely better in the classic American Dry Martini, but I'm finding that in nearly everything else I actually prefer the new formula.


Cheers,

Mike

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."

- Bogart

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For the record, I'm in love with the new N.P. It might be technically sweeter than the old, but the words that leap to my mind when I taste both side by side are "more floral" in the case of the new bottling.

It's true that we'll have to tinker with ricipes a little, but I've been saying for years that recipes ore no more than guidelines . . . :smile:


“The practice is to commence with a brandy or gin ‘cocktail’ before breakfast, by way of an appetizer. Subsequently, a ‘digester’ will be needed. Then, in due course and at certain intervals, a ‘refresher,’ a ‘reposer,’ a ‘settler,’ a ‘cooler,’ an ‘invigorator,’ a ‘sparkler,’ and a ‘rouser,’ pending the final ‘nightcap,’ or midnight dram.” Life and Society in America by Samuel Phillips Day. Published by Newman and Co., 1880.

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It's true that we'll have to tinker with ricipes a little, but I've been saying for years that recipes ore no more than guidelines . . .  :smile:

Good point Gary. I find that instead of my traditional 3:1 ratio Martini that I have been mixing for years with the old NP & Dolin, I now have to mix 4:1 with the new NP. I like the increased floral notes in the new NP as well.


During lunch with the Arab leader Ibn Saud, when he heard that the king’s religion forbade smoking and alcohol, Winston Churchill said: "I must point out that my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite the smoking of cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after, and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." Ibn Saud relented and the lunch went on with both alcohol & cigars.

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For those in San Francisco, Tower Market still has a few bottles of the old "american" version. I had to get one just so I could do a comparison. All the folks who tasted the two liked the "new" version better. It's more complex and more sherry like. The old some thought was sweeter, I sort of thought the opposite but I can see their point. There is a tartness to the old that I think balances the the sweet but I also liked the new better. The old seemed a bit thin in comparison and like the sweet and tart were on opposite sides of the room, where the new seems more "integrated".

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Did a review on both the old and the new on my webpage (spiritsreview.com ) and I have to say while I much prefer the American version (the clearer one we are all used to here in the states) for certain applications (like my Martini) the other version is very nice for some of the classic drinks when this type was the one in wide use (Noilly said they only started making the American version in the 70's). So it is kind of a mixed bag to me. I do find it unfortunate that NP has decided to end one version rather than add another.

As to shelf life, Noilly said 3 years ( on a shelf- not a dark cooler basement where you might presumably get more time out of it - I'll continue to sample mine regularly as needed :biggrin: ).

We still have plenty of the old version up here in upstate New York if anyone needs some cases- I already grabbed a couple for myself to stockpile in case NP doesn't come to it's senses and restart production anytime soon.


The Pleasures of Exile are Imperfect at Best, At Worst They Rot the Liver.

Spirits Review.com

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I'm not finding the changes helping me so much, however much I want to like having something different. And it does seem odd I find myself adjusting old book recipes calling for French Vermouth to now use less of the new/old Noilly Prat.

As Gary and others have mentioned, you need to use less, and for many that means going from 3:1 or 4:1 to upwards of 5:1 or 6:1. This ups the overall pour cost, and with more alcohol poured, gets the Somm irked for threatening wine sales at mealtime and raises alc liabilities. That said, doing a standard ratio should bring out the wood notes which should appeal to the oakey-chardonnay crowd.

The new featured cocktail on the back label suggests a broader target audience, and so maybe to support this we should try serving the recommended 2:1 Grey Goose to Noilly Dry. Sounds cynical from me but at least it highlights the distinctive profile. I would like to do more to highlight the unique character here, especially that Sherry/Madeira finish.

So no one has spoken to how this works differently in the kitchen from the old - is it better with deglazing and with sauces?

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I'm not finding the changes helping me so much, however much I want to like having something different.  And it does seem odd I find myself adjusting old book recipes calling for French Vermouth to now use less of the new/old Noilly Prat.

[...]

Why less?

If you're making super extra dry martinis, you're already probably using a quarter ounce or less vermouth in the drink. I don't see that the new or the old makes much difference in those dash-ish quantities.

As Splificator noted a while ago, in a Fifty-Fifty, with any gin with some cojones, the "Original Formula Dry" is quite tasty. I find it works equally well in most of the vermouth heavy Savoy Cocktails I have tried it in so far.

In fact, I preferred it to either the Dolin or the American Noilly in a Nineteen Cocktail recently.

Nineteen Cocktail

1 Dash Absinthe. (Verte de Fougerolles)

1/6 Dry Gin. (1/2 oz North Shore Distiller's No. 11)

1/6 Kirsch. (1/2 oz Clear Creek Kirsch)

2/3 French Vermouth. (2 oz Noilly Original Dry)

4 Dashes Syrup. (1 tsp. Rich Simple Syrup)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.  (Lemon Peel.)


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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<snip>

(Noilly said they only started making the American version in the 70's)<snip>

I would have thought that a possible reason for this might have been to make it more like Martini & Rossi in order to gain or maintain market share, but (if Wikipedia is anything to go by), Noilly Prat was acquired by Martini & Rossi in 1971 so that hypothesis probably doesn't fit.

It's interesting that the demand for rye went up once cocktail writers began pointing out how most of the classic whiskey cocktails were formulated with rye in mind, yet when the original vermouth used to create the Martini returns, it draws such strong reactions, many negative. (I haven't gotten my hands on the new(old) stuff yet, so I can't offer an opinion.) I realize that a lot of the reaction is over the deletion of the American formula, however, moreso than the mere return of the European version. I imagine their marketers feel that offering both side-by-side would create confusion. Also, they probably would like to see more consumers just drink the stuff instead of using only tiny amounts at a time. Surely there must a quality dry vermouth out there that can fill the role of the American Noilly Prat?


Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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since the european formula came out i drink more dry noilly straight out of the bottle. it has a nice stand alone balance. i can't drink the american version straight so enjoyably. to evaluate it solo, the american doesn't have enough extract for its loud proportions. it just doesn't taste unified. but in the context of a cocktail that doesn't really matter. many other brands can't be drank straight so enjoyably either because they have an obnoxious concord grape like fruitiness.

how do people feel about the different noillys in drinks like the bamboo or half sinner half saint?


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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[...]

(Noilly said they only started making the American version in the 70's).

[...]

Maybe a bit before that.

Mr. Splificator turned up a reference to what appears to be the new formula in 1964 and posted it here.

VERY VERY PALE

So pale that new Noilly Prat French Vermouth is virtually invisible in your gin or vodka. Extra pale and extra dry for today's correct Martini. DON'T STIR WITHOUT NOILLY PRAT."


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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