A Little Taste of Benedictine

January 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

Vintage advertising posters tell us what products were in demand in the past and how those ‘brands’ reached out to consumers.  In the Vintage European Posters Blog this month, we will take a look at some of the original vintage posters from our collection which advertise legendary liquor brands, how manufacturers explained their product in posters, and how the product  looks to today’s consumer.


Benedictine Liqueur*

Benedictine is an herbal liqueur, said to have medicinal properties.  The recipe was developed  in the  Benedictine Abbey in Normandy by a Monk, Don Bernardo Vincelli, and contains 27 herbs and spices. The primary herbs are Angelica, Hyssop and Lemon Balm, and the distilled liquor is aged 17 months before it goes to market.

The recipe is closely guarded – only 3 people at a time are privy to it, and the brand has been  imitated countless times, so much so that at the distillery there is a rogue’s gallery of counterfeits! Benedictine is an ingredient in the Singapore Sling, some drink it neat, but it is probably most famously enjoyed as a B & B – Benedictine and Brandy.

benedictine vintage poster

Anonymous, Benedictine, c. 1890

This poster was created in the 1890’s in France.  It measures 41.5 inches by 57.5 inches and has some light folds with professional water reversible restoration.  The Parisian printer Imprimeries Lemercier went to great lengths to capture the detail of this beautiful design.  The poster features the gothic architecture of the Norman Abbey and the sense of history associated with the brand. The crests across the top of the poster suggest nobility.   The piece also has a tax stamp, just below the B which shows that the poster was hung outdoors and a municipal display tax was paid.

In the Bay Area today, there are many great watering holes featuring mixologists who use Benedictine in their palette.  Visit Flora’s new bar “Fauna” in the Uptown District, or Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco for a taste of this legendary liquor.  Having a hard time finding Benedictine? Try a good bottle shop like Ledger’s Liquor on University Avenue in Berkeley, very close to our Berkeley Showroom.

You can see this poster, and the VEP Collection at St. Christopher Antique Show February 1-3 in San Jose.  The show is a benefit for the St. Christopher’s School in Willow Glen.

2278 Booksin Avenue, San JoseSt.ChristophersAntiques
Friday February 1, 11am-8pm
Saturday February 2, 11am-8pm
Sunday February 3,  10am-2pm

vintage european posters

VEP’s booth at the St. Christopher Antique Show last year

*Image from Wikipedia

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, Owner Vintage European Posters, and edited by Emily Jackson, UC Berkeley Art History Student and Gallery Assistant  www.vepca.com

Vintage European Posters was established in 1997. We are the West Coast’s Largest Dealer in Original Vintage Posters from France and the United States. See us online anytime at www.vepca.com and at our Berkeley Showroom OUTPOST 2201 Fourth Street, Tuesdays and Thursdays


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