What does Benedictine (the liqueur) taste like?



Greenstuff June 5, 2011
Oh, sorry mainecook61--is your bottle drinkable? As long as it was not kept in a bottle that leached lead. Brother Garnier was one of the Grande Chartreuse monks involved in bring the liqueur to the world.
Greenstuff June 5, 2011
Thanks, mainecook61, Chartreuse is a topic I REALLY like! The only color named after a liqueur. It's still made by monks in the pre-Alp area north of Grenoble called the Chartreuse, and it comes in several varieties. The most common, green Chartreuse, is made from 132 herbs, from a wider geographic area than you'd guess that ancient monks were gathering herbs. It's sweet, but not nearly as sweet as Benedictine or a host of other herbal liqueurs. I really like it, but it's an acquired taste. It's possible to visit the monastery, where the monks do not speak. It's also possible to visit the distillery in Voiron. Yes, there are free samples.

Yellow Chartreuse, the second most popular variety, is sweeter and gets its color from saffron (I think). It's still not as sweet as Benedictine, at least to me.
mainecook61 June 5, 2011
While we're on the subject, what does chartreuse taste like? I have an ancient bottle that came out of an old house. The manufacturer is Garnier, the bottle is part of a numbered lot, and the label says "depose 2-1-69." It's not 1969, for sure. Drinkable, do you think? It's quite full of green--well, chartreuse-- liqueur. Any chartreuse experts out there?
Greenstuff June 5, 2011
Too sweet for me too! Among other things, it includes lavender, thyme, cardamom, juniper, and vanilla.

Here is some more of its interesting story: Benedictine was originally made by monks. In the late 1870s, Alexandre La Grande, who had found the ancient recipe in an family trunk, started to make it for retail. You can read all about it in Food & Friends, written by his grand-daughter, Simone "Simka" Beck. And yes! It's the same Simone Beck who wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Julia Child.
sdebrango June 5, 2011
One year I sent my father the other one instead of the Benedictine and I never heard the end of it. You are absolutely right pierino in small doses its pleasant anything after that well, not so much.
pierino June 5, 2011
Benedictine is what happens when you cloister a bunch of monks together for fifty or so years. St.Benedict has a lot to answer for, including my high school education. Sweet and pleasing in small doses but after that...you get into B&B or rusty nails. I think Sdebrango has the flavor profile down.
sdebrango June 5, 2011
I looked it up and it seems the recipe for Benedictine is a closely guarded secret only 3 people at a time know what it is. I know a little about it because it was my fathers favorite and I use to send him a bottle every year for Christmas. It has a taste that is so distinct its difficult to say exactly what it is but the closest in my opinion as I said before is a sweet cognac.
sdebrango June 5, 2011
Benedictine liqueur has a very distinct taste. Its made of herbs and roots and sugar with a cognac base. Thats the real Benedictine. My father used to drink it and I have tasted it and the closest flavor I can pin on it is a sweetened cognac. There is another one can't remember the name but it has a brandy base.
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