Invented by a monk in 1510 known as Dom Bernardo Vincelli at the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy, France. It is classed as an herbal liqueur and the main production site remained in the Abbey until the Abbey was destroyed at the time of the French Revolution, during this time the recipe was lost as well. However, in 1863, the man known as Alexandre le Grande started the company known as Bénédictine and began production of the liqueur, now with the re-discovered recipe.
The recipe used today is considered the re-invention of the original one and uses 27 different plants and spices, it is so secret that only three people at any single point in time. Bénédictine has been tried to be replicated so many times that the company has a “Hall of Counterfeits” where failed attempts of recreating the beverage can be seen. Bénédictine also manufactures a product known as “Bénédictine and Brandy”, or simply “B&B”, which is normal Bénédictine diluted with brandy, making a less sweet beverage than the original product.
Bénédictine was developed in the 1930s when consumers started to mix the drink with brandy to get a drier taste, B&B has an alcohol by volume level of 43% while the original Bénédictine only has 40%. The company started manufacturing of their own coffee liqueur, known as Café Bénédictine, which is a blend of the original drink and coffee-flavored liqueur, this product has an ABV of 30%. Every bottle of Bénédictine is marked with the initials “D.O.M.”, which is commonly mistaken to refer to the “Dominican Order of Monks”, while it is actually the old Latin phrase “Deo optimo maximo” which means “For our best, greatest God” or “To God, most good, most great”. Other liqueur made from herbs include Chartreuse, Jägermeister, and Unicum among others.