Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First Taste: Noilly Prat

"In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen." William S. Burroughs.

Well, maybe so; then who has willed within a couple months this year the return of both Bols Genever and the other main ingredient in the Holland House cocktail, Noilly Prat, back to the U.S. in the original formula?

Tasting the old Noilly (or should that be the old new? Either way, the one that you'll still find on many bar and retail shelves, at least until inventory turns over) and the new (that's the old and now new, which we will call classic for clarity, to be discerned by its sleek, streamlined bottle) together reveals a key difference: the returning classic formula is aged longer, showing so in its pale golden hue. Its aromas and flavors are more robust; instead of just oregano and marjoram, which dominate the style that until recently was sold only in America, Noilly smells of lemon and orange peels, bramble bushes and chamomile. That's what two years in wood, one outside exposed to the Mediterranean sun and sea breezes, and 20 botanicals will do for you. Suitable as a solo sipper, this is also the vermouth a Martini was meant for, and not insignificantly to me, is still a great cooking wine. Remember to refrigerate and if you use a wine preservation system, to apply here as well, unless you go through a bottle every week or so. (Imported by Noilly Prat USA)

My score: 6

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