The creation of Bénédictine is a closely guarded secret known only to their Master Blender. Although we may be aware of the ingredients used within the preparation of this truly unique liqueur, we do not know the exact proportions - making it impossible to copy.
As guardian of the secret recipe of Bénédictine, the Master Blender is responsible for a complex production process requiring a fine palate and a keen sense of smell to ensure that the superb quality of Bénédictine remains consistent.
Bénédictine is made using 27 different plants and spices each of which is absolutely vital to the final recipe. The 3 key ingredients are: angelica with its balsamic and warming aroma, hyssop which has a strong and slightly bitter flavour and melissa (also known as lemon balm) for the tangy aromatic lemon essences. Other plants and spices include as vanilla from Madagascar, myrrh from Saudi Arabia, as well as nutmeg, mace, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and saffron.
The 27 plants and spices are carefully sorted and weighed by hand. Vanilla and lemon peels are macerated in water and alcohol for between 4-6 months first before being used. The carefully weighed ingredients are then made into 4 different preparations. One is an infusion in water and alcohol, the second is double distilled in a pot still, the third undergoes a single distillation and the fourth goes through a double distillation process. Each 'alcoholate' as they are known at this point, are then aged separately in oak casks for 3 months in the cellars at Le Palais Bénédictine. The rich oak imbues the liquid with flavour and colour as the time passes.
After 3 months all 4 alcoholates are blended together in the same tun (a larger oak cask) where the heart of Bénédictine takes shape over a period of 12 months. More ingredients are added to this maturing blend after 8 months - this includes honey, natural caramel and a carefully prepared infusion of saffron for even more depth of colour and flavour before the liquid will be heated and filtered twice to produce the finished liqueur. From initial preparation of the ingredients to the liqueur having matured sufficiently to be ready for bottling - takes at least 2 years.
Click here to see a diagram of the production process.