What did Napoleon Bonaparte and mandarin fruits have in common? The answer is the French island of Corsica, on the southeast of the French mainland. The French Emperor became happier when his doctor, Antoine Francois de Fourcroy (1755-1809) made a mandarin’s maceration into alcohol and then blended the result with cognac. The drink, soon became Bonaparte’s favorite and the result was a bottle with the label : Mandarine Napoléon liquer. This fine liquer originates from 1892. The discovery of Francois was refined according to a recipe with cognac, mandarin peels from Andalusia, Sicily and Corsica and a secret mix of herbs and spices. Allowing it to mature for three years gave Mandarin Napoleon an even richer character. Fourcroy family produced the Mandarine Napoléon in their own distillery in Laeken (near Brussels) which was created in 1974. In 2005 they terminated the entire production at their site and they continued the distillation in Biercée and the blending & bottling in Charleroi in 2006.
For quality and practical reasons, Fourcroy abandoned the maceration of peels and herbs in 1982 and until today the essential oil of the ingredients are used. Those ingredients are steeped into ethanol alcohol along with herbs to macerate for a few days in huge stainless steel tanks.
The distillation of the Mandarine Napoléon takes place in 4 Holstein pot stills (one run last nearly 21 days). During the distillation the heads and tails are separated and only the best part, the “coeur de distillation” with a strength of approximately 88% vol, is used for the Mandarine Napoléon blend.