On one of my trips to St. Martin I purchased in the duty free airport a bottle of Benedictine. Actually I thought I was getting B & B, but when I arrived home realized the error. Well, how different can it be? Upon tasting it just didn't cut the mustard so I decided to give it to a friend who likes Benedictine. He mentioned to me the stuff I gave him tasted different compared to the bottle he had and in a blind tasting I agreed. Actually I liked the US purchased stuff since the St. Martin product had a bit more of an herbal flavor. Upon further inspection we could see there was a difference in the bottles as follows: Color, the St. Martin purchased bottle was green, the US purchased one was brown. The paper lable below the cap on the US bottle had a typewritten number that looked like a serial number on it, the St. Martin bottle had no such lable. The signatures on the round D.O.M. part of the label were different, one was initials only, the other was the full signature. Interestingly enough the lettering on the actual glass was identical.
So, my question is, if this product is made in the very same place and supposedly with the same recipe why are there not only differences in the outward appearences of the package, but more importantly in the taste? My bottle was probably 3 or 4 yrs. old, but with a spirit such as this, age of only a few years should not make a difference.
Keep in mind, the island of St. Martin has both a Dutch side and a French side, the duty free at Princess Julianna airport is on the Dutch side. Still, I would think they would get the real deal there.