Alexandre Le Grand

The story goes that one day in 1863, in the process of sorting out some very old family papers, a wine merchant in Fécamp, with the evocative name of Alexandre Le Grand, came across an old recipe book that has been tucked away in his library for years.

Alexandre Le Grand

The document apparently fell into the hands of his family after the French Revolution of 1789. The last monk forced to flee the abbey because of the Revolution gave a member of Alexandre’s family a number of what he considered to be the most precious books. They had been kept in the family ever since without arousing the slightest curiosity.

Nobody other than Alexandre Le Grand, a member of an old Fécamp family and an expert in alcohols, could have been more suitably chosen to turn his attention to and to decode the enigmas of the strange volume that he discovered in 1863.

The book, a manuscript dated 1510, included nearly 200 pages written in Gothic script by a monk by the name of Vincelli. The work dealt mainly with a serious study of hermeticism and alchemy, covering the search for the Philosopher’s Stone, the transmutation of metals and the panacea.

Bénédictine® D.O.M.

Alexandre Le Grand was intrigued by the work, especially by the recipe for a mysterious and curious elixir composed of twenty seven plants and spices.

Secret Substance Secret Substance

Despite his knowledge of distillation and spirits, it took our wine merchant practically a year to decipher and unravel the secret of the proportions and mixes. After several attempts, Alexandre Le Grand succeeded in reconstituting Vincelli’s recipe that he carefully transcribed into a book.

Bénédictine® D.O.M.

From the Superior of the Benedictine order in Rome, Alexandre Le Grand obtained the right to use the name and the coat of arms of the Benedictine Abbey in Fécamp. In tribute to Dom Bernardo Vincelli he called his liqueur BÉNÉDICTINE®.

He also chose to keep the indication D.O.M., the motto of the Benedictines standing for Deo Optimo Maximo (God infinitely good, infinitely great). It also refers to the Latin word Dominus (Master) given to Benedictine abbots.

The Icon

In 1884, J-K Huysmans, in his novel « A Rebours », described at some length the bottle of Bénédictine: « Draped in its abbatial robes, signed with a cross and the ecclesiastic initials D.O.M., bound in its parchments and ligatures like an authentic charter, there lies a saffron coloured liqueur of exquisite finesse. »

Bénédictine® D.O.M.

Alexandre Le Grand ordered a very special glass bottle for his Bénédictine®: unassuming but generous, well-proportioned and elegantly decorated, its very shape is so unusual that in the hands of artists, painters or writers it becomes a source of inspiration.

Bénédictine captivates artists and painters in particular. It can be found represented in works as different as a « Still Life » by Wesley Webber, « La chandelle rose » by Rousseau or in another « Still Life » by Paul Gauguin. Even Marcel Duchamp, the father of contemporary art, alludes to it in his major work « La mariée mise à nue par ses célibataires, même ».