In the 1860s, a wine merchant named Alexandre Le Grand was working on an herbal liqueur and like many others, he drew inspiration from old herbalist recipes. One particular manuscript stood out to him that his family had acquired after the French Revolution: that of Dom Bernardo Vincelli. Though the manuscript contained hundreds of recipes that Le Grand borrowed from, his mythology centered on one that was said to “revitalize” tired monks. Le Grand himself was more merchant than herbalist and quickly realized the marketing value of this provenance. He went so far as to slap Deo Optimo Maximo or D.O.M. (“to God, most good, most great“) on each label which was used by the Benedictine Order to dedicate their work to God. Historians debate whether Vincelli was even a real figure or rather an amalgamation of various herbalists and monks which Le Grand drew from.
Like so many other herbal liqueurs, the recipe for Bénédictine is a closely-kept secret blend of 27 different botanicals. What is known is that these botanicals are grouped into four clusters and distilled separately in copper pot stills. These four spirits are aged for 8 months separately before being blended together with honey and saffron. This final blend is then aged in barrels for at least 4 months before being filtered and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.
Bénédictine has an aromatic bouquet of citrus fruit and spice that leads to distinct herbal flavors, mellowed by hints of honey sweetness and a rich, warm, lengthy finish.
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