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Bénédictine is an herbal liqueur beverage invented by Alexandre Legrand (He changed his name later to Alexandre Le Grand, like Alexander the Great in French) in the 19th century and produced in France. Its recipe contains 27 plants and spices.

At the Benedictine Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy, monks developed medicines, kinds of aromatic elixirs. It was produced at the Abbey until they were lost during the abbey's devastation at the time of the French Revolution. In 1863, Alexandre Legrand discovered these medicines and helped by a chemist, he invented the recipe[1]. Then, he began production under the trade name "Bénédictine", after having built a special palace to produce it. The family sold the company to Martini and Rossi, that was itself 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 (and failed) to reproduce it that the company maintains on its grounds in Fécamp a "Hall of Counterfeits" (Salle des Contrefaçons) displaying bottles of the failed attempts.

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 another coffee-flavored 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.

Every bottle of Bénédictine has the initials D.O.M. on the label. Mistakenly thought by some to refer to "Dominican Order of Monks", it actually stands for "Deo Optimo Maximo"; "For our best, greatest God". (The Dominican Order uses the designation O.P., which refers to "Order of Preachers".).

Burnley Miners' Club in Lancashire, United Kingdom is the world's biggest single consumer of Benedictine liqueur, after Lancashire regiments acquired a taste for it during the First World War.[2]


  1. ^ According to an interview of Alain Le Grand, last family owner of the destillery in the TV-Document Le Palais bénédictine de Fécamp on FR3 - Normandie.
  2. ^ List of QI episodes (D series)#Episode 6 "Drinks"


  • Harold J. Grossman and Harriet Lembeck, Grossman's Guide to Wines, Beers and Spirits (6th edition). Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1977, pp. 377–8. ISBN 0-684-15033-6
  • Jean Pierre Lantaz, Bénédictine, d'un alambic à cinq continents, éditions Bertout 1991.
  • Stéphane Nappez, Le palais Bénédictine, éditions PTC 2005

External links


(c. 480-543), detail from a fresco by Fra Angelico, San Marco, Florence (c. 1400-1455).]]

Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict around 529.

Used as a noun, the term denotes their members, the Benedictines. By extension it is sometimes applied to other adherents of the Benedictine spirituality, for example, "Oblates (secular)".

During the subsequent centuries many more Benedictine communities were founded, not only for monks but also for nuns, first throughout Europe and eventually also other areas of the world. This led to the formation in modern times of the Order of St Benedict. In addition to those autonomous Benedictine communities, a number of independent monastic orders were founded on the rule of St Benedict, and so are also Benedictines in that sense. Such orders include the Congregation of Cluny, the Cistercians, and the Trappists. Benedictine communities are primarily found in the Catholic Church but several Benedictine communities exist within other Christian communities, though small in number.

The current Abbot Primate (religion) of the global Benedictine Confederation of the Order of St. Benedict is a German Benedictine, Notker Wolf. The center of the Confederation is Sant'Anselmo in Rome where every four years the abbots of the Benedictine order from around the world meet for a Confederation Congress. In 2000, there were 8,182 Benedictine monks, 7,179 nuns, and 10,000 "Active Benedictine Sisters." [1]



In the English Reformation all monasteries were dissolved and their lands confiscated by the Crown, forcing their Roman Catholic members to flee into exile on the Continent, although during the 19th century they were able to return to England, including to Selby Abbey in Yorkshire, one of the few great monastic churches to survive the Dissolution. Noteworthy, too, is St. Mildred's Priory, Isle of Thanet, Kent, built in 1027 on the site of an abbey founded in 670 by the daughter of the first Christian king of Kent. Currently the Priory is home to a community of Benedictine nuns. Two of the most notable English abbeys are St. Gregory's in Somerset (Downside Abbey) and St. Lawrence's in Yorkshire (Ampleforth Abbey).[2][3]In 1928, Prinknash Abbey was officially returned to the Benedictines after four hundred years. Henry VIII had used the site as a hunting lodge. During the next few years, Prinknash Park, so called, was used as a home, until it was returned to the order. [4][5]Since the Oxford Movement there has also been a modest flourishing of Benedictine monasticism in the Anglican Church and Protestant Churches. Anglican Benedictine Abbots are also welcomed guests of the Benedictine Abbot Primate in Rome at Abbatial gatherings at Sant'Anselmo.[6] There are an estimated 2,400 celibate Anglican Religious (1080 men and 1320 women) in the Anglican Communion as a whole, some of whom have adopted the Rule of Benedict.[7]


In the late 19th century, laws were enacted preventing religious teaching. The original intent was to allow secular schools. In 1880 and 1882, Benedictine teaching monks were effectively exiled. This was not completed until 1901.[8][9][10][11][12]

Benedictines in popular culture

The Benedictine order has been brought to public attention by the Brother Cadfael novels, a series of murder mysteries by Edith Pargeter writing under the name Ellis Peters. The stories were also made into a television series starring Derek Jacobi. The protagonist, Brother Cadfael, is a Benedictine monk living at Shrewsbury Abbey during the 12th century. The novels contain many details about the Benedictine order and lifestyle.

See also


  1. Terance Kavenagh, "Benedictines" in Encyclopedia of Monasticism ed. William Johnson (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000), 326.
  2. Colin Battell, OSB, "Spirituality on the beach," The Tablet 2 December, 2006, 18-19. The late Cardinal Basil Hume was abbot of Ampleforth Abbey before being appointed Archbishop of Westminster.
  3. Christopher Martin A Glimpse of Heaven: Catholic Churches in England and Wales (London: English Heritage, 2007). Examines the abbeys rebuilt after 1850 (by benefactors among the Catholic aristocracy and recusant squirearchy), mainly Benedictine but including a Cistercian abbey at Mount St. Bernard (by Pugin) and a Carthusian Charterhouse in Sussex. There is a review of book by Richard Lethbridge "Monuments to Catholic confidence," The Tablet 10 February, 2007, 27
  4. Prinknash Abbey
  5. Mian Ridge "Prinknash monks downsize," The Tablet 12 November, 2005, 34
  6. Daniel Rees, "Anglican Monasticism," in Encyclopedia of Monasticism ed. William Johnston (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn Publisher, 2000), 29.
  8. [1] retrieved November 29, 2008
  9. [2] retrieved November 29, 2008
  10. [3]
  11. [4]
  12. [5]

External links

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Simple English

The word Benedictine usually refers to a follower of the Order of Saint Benedict. These people usually lead a life in an abbey, they follow the rule of Benedict of Nursia. Benedict lived in the 6th century. He made some rules, called the Rule of St Benedict these people follow. The rules can be summed up by pax (peace) and ora et labora (pray and work).

Most Benedictines see themselves as part of the Catholic Church, some can also be found in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church. Officially, the order is known as Ordo Sancti Benedicti (OSB).


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