Making Vermouth: A Trip to Noilly Prat in Marseillan, France
Heaven Hill Distillery Visit

Noilly Prat Vermouth: The Differences Between Original Dry, Rouge, and Ambre

In yesterday's post I discussed how Noilly Prat vermouth is made, as learned on my visit to the vermoutherie in Marseillan, France. Today I want to talk about the differences between the types of vermouth they make. 

In most parts of the world, Original Dry is the only Noilly Prat. The Rouge is primarily for the US market, and the Ambre is available in a few liquor stores in Europe and at the distillery. (The Rouge is also available at the distillery.) 

Three types of Noilly Prat Marseillan France_tn

Noilly Prat Original Dry

One-year-aged clairette and picpoul wines, aged, fortified sweet mistelle wine the from muscat grape, a raspberry and lemon-infused distillate are combined and infused wtih herbs and spices. The filtered results of this are then aged for three more weeks. 

The Original Dry is macerated with 20 ingredients. These include: 

  • Chamomille. This is the dominant note. As a delicate dried flower, this maceration is done separately from the main maceration. Chamomille gives the vermouth both a slight bitterness and the dry finish. 
  • Nutmeg.
  • Bitter orange peels from Tunisia. 
  • Gentian. This adds bitter and earthy notes. Gentian is used in gin and many perfumes to add base notes. 
  • Wormwood. By European law, all vermouth contains wormwood. The word "vermouth" actually comes from the German word for wormwood.

Three types of Noilly Prat Marseillan France (2)_tn

Noilly Prat Rouge

This is Noilly Prat's sweet vermouth, which was created in 1956. It uses the same base wines, but also includes caramel coloring to give it its red hue. (Many people assume sweet vermouths are made from red wines- nope!) The Rouge calls for the same 20 ingredients as the Original Dry, but used in different ratios than the dry. It then adds an additional 5 ingredients not found in the Original Dry, for 25 ingredients in total. These ingredients include:

  • Cloves
  • Coco beans from Venezuela
  • Saffron
  • Quinine (like in tonic water)

Noilly Prat Ambre

This is basically a special 'distillery edition' of vermouth, only available here and in a few important wine shops in Europe. It is amber in color and much sweeter than the Original Dry- in fact sweeter than the Rouge. It contains all of the 25 herbs and spices used in Rouge, plus 24 additional ingredients, for a total of 49 herbs and spices. These include:

  • Cardamom
  • Lavender
  • Cinnamon
  • Rose petals
  • Vanilla

There is also an Extra-Dry coming to the US market this fall, but I'll save that for another post... Update! Here is a post about the Extra-Dry vermouth


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Carpano Antica Formula is made with red wine.

Camper English

Didn't know that, thanks!

DB Smith

I think the Amber is superb - one of the best vermouths out there.

Also I think there are a couple of other Red Vermouth made with red wine, Fillipetti springs to mind.

Jacob Briars

Great piece Camper. Matty - Carpano Antica is made with white wine and caramel. The only vermouth made with any red wine is Martini Rosato, which is a combination of red and white wines


Do you know if they ever came out with the Noilly Extra Dry?

Camper English

While the initial plan was for January, I believe now they're launching around/during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic in May.

Frank Barnard

I changed my Martini recipe to adapt to the "new" 2009-2013 Noilly Prat Original French Dry vermouth. I didn't know they switched back to the "Extra Dry" formula until I bought a bottle and hated it. Any idea what I can buy that would be similar to Noilly Prat Original French Dry and available in USA?

Camper English

Frank - I believe the plan is to have both Dry and Extra Dry available on the US market going forward. They're just rolling out the extra-dry now so it might take a while for things to get settled.


Fabulous vermouth posts - no one else has mentioned the raspberry-lemon distillate (to my knowledge). Helpful in my continuing home made vermouth experiments in NYC. Thank you!


What color is the extra dry vermouth? Mine is not clear is that what it should be? Mine is pale yellow?


I have tried both the Original French Dry and the newly-reintroduced Extra Dry. No contest, the Original French Dry is much more to my liking, for both mixed drink use (There are plenty of drinks apart from a Martini that call for dry vermouth - and Extra Dry does not work in them) and for cooking.

That being said, I find it impossible to find the Original French Dry, even using online liquor stores. (Noilly Prat's distributors must think that Americans use dry vermouth ONLY in Martinis.) The only place that had it in stock will not ship it across a state line.

If anybody knows where the Original French Dry is available - and if the seller will ship across a state line - please post it and let me know.

Camper English

Well, according to what I learned on my visit, Extra Dry should be clear - but all these reports on this and my other post have begun to make me question that.

That said, if you've left it open for a little while it might turn light yellow after a bit.

Marc St. Stepehen

Here's the question: Is "Original French Dry" now just called "Original Dry" but is the same thing?

Camper English

It depends on when you're referring to OFD. The answer is here:

And hopefully it's still accurate after 4 years. People have had difficulties in finding more than one at a time.


I was looking for it for quite a while and kept asking for it at a local liquor store. Guess what, few months later I bought a bottle of French Dry at that store. I'm mostly using it for cooking, still have some, but keep checking and see that they still carrying it.


Is there anything similar to the Noilly Ambre since I can't find it in the US?

Camper English

I would say the closest you'll find is a "bianco" vermouth, which are sweetened but white, like Dolin Bianco or Martini Bianco. This story has some info on the category but doesn't mention Noilly Prat Ambre in particular.

Nancy Hicks

We visited the vermoutherie in Marseillan, France last month. Our guide, Pascal, was great. We cannot remember which fruit he paired with which vermouth. One was sprinkled with lime, one with lemon, one with grapefruit. Do you know the combination for each of the vermouths?
It was an interesting tour and well worth the visit.

Camper English

Alas, I don't know.

Tully Bardin

Morning Camper,

Just to let you know that Noilly Prat Rouge has been widely available (and a great favourite of mine) for many years in Britain.

Enjoyed your article,

Is it necessary to keep it refrigerated?

Camper English

@Mobrien Yes, after opening refrigerate all vermouth. The sweet will last much longer than dry.

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