It is often referred to as “D.O.M.”, which, in fact, appears on the bottle in France. This is short for “deo optimo maximo” – a dedication (in Latin of course) to “God, the best and greatest”.
Bénédictine is an herbal liqueur beverage developed by Alexandre Le Grand in the 19th century and produced in France.
It is claimed that at the Benedictine Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy, monks had developed a medicinal aromatic herbal beverage which was produced until the abbey’s devastation during the French Revolution, but in fact Alexandre Le Grand invented the recipe himself, helped by a local chemist, and he told this story to connect the liqueur with the city history and to sell his liqueur the best as possible.
He began production under the trade name “Bénédictine”, using a bottle with an easily recognizable shape and label. The family eventually sold the company to Martini and Rossi, which was in turn bought by Bacardi.
The recipe is a closely guarded trade secret, ostensibly known to only three people at any given time. So many people have tried to reproduce it that the company maintains on its grounds in Fécamp a “Hall of Counterfeits” (Salle des Contrefaçons) The bottle and label have been imitated, as has the name Bénédictine. The company prosecuted those it felt to be infringing on its intellectual property. It lost in litigation against the Santo Domingo de Silos Abbey in Spain, after it was demonstrated that the monks there had been making their liqueur for a longer time.
The manufacturing process involves several distillations which are then blended.
The same company also produces “B & B” (or Bénédictine and Brandy), which is Bénédictine diluted with brandy, making it less sweet than Bénédictine. B & B was developed in the 1930s when consumers began a trend of mixing Bénédictine with brandy to produce a drier taste. Bénédictine is 40% alcohol (80 proof), while B & B is 43% (86 proof). Also, the company introduced in 1977 a 60 proof (30% alcohol) coffee liqueur, Café Bénédictine, a blend of Bénédictine and a coffee-flavoured liqueur. Additionally, the company produces a Bénédictine Single Cask that comes in a black bottle and is only available at the Palais de la Bénédictine’s store in Fécamp, Normandy, France.