Mandarine Napoleon Grande Liqueur Imperiale

Difford's Guide
Discerning Drinkers (14 ratings)

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alc./vol: 38%

Proof: 76°

Vintage: Non-vintage

Aged: No age statement

Product of: Product of Netherlands Netherlands

Made since 1892, Mandarine Napoléon Liqueur is a rich, vibrant blend of handpicked mandarins from Sicily infused with cognac and 20 other botanicals from around the world.

Mandarine Napoléon is claimed to have been created in 1892 by Antoine-François de Fourcroy, a chemist and son of a pharmacist who served as a member of Emperor Napoléon's State Council. He was bestowed with the noble rank of Count to the French Empire and Commander in the Legion of Honour.

Antoine had frequent meetings with Emperor Napoléon and used to make notes about these meetings in his private diary. One such entry pertains to the recipe of Mandarine Napoléon liqueur, which it is believed Antoine created especially for the Emperor based on cognacs and mandarin oranges. Mandarins, often known as tangerines, were introduced into Europe from China in the 18th century and grew particularly well in Corsica, Bonaparte's birthplace. At the time, they were considered exotic with special health properties.

During the late 19th century, a Belgian chemist interested in Fourcroy's work discovered the ingredients to Napoléon's liqueur in Fourcroy's diary. This same chemist, Louis Schmidt, had a small distillery in Brussels and, in 1892, decided to create a liqueur based on the recipe.

Members of Mr Schmidt's family continued production until shortly after the Second World War when they had to close their distillery. Members of the Fourcroy Company, which had coincidentally been in the wine and spirit trade since 1862, took over production of the liqueur. Thus, Mandarine Napoléon was once again connected with the Fourcroys.

The worldwide recession took its toll on Fourcroy's business, and in September 2009, the Dutch liqueur producer De Kuyper brought Mandarine Napoléon from Fourcroy. Famous for its genever and liqueurs, the Dutch firm of De Kuyper was established in 1695 when newlywed Petrus de Kuyper founded the firm in Horst in Limburg, in the south of the Netherlands. De Kuyper remains a family-owned liqueur producer, with members of the 10th generation working in the business.

Mandarine Napoléon's distinctive flavour comes from Sicilian oranges - what we Brits sometimes refer to as tangerines. Production starts with two separate macerations, one with chopped fresh mandarin oranges and the other with dried mandarin orange skins.

The macerations are prepared in two specially designed stainless steel vats charged with neutral alcohol diluted back to 50% alc./vol. with purified water. To each of these macerations, a secret combination of 20 other botanicals, known to include nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, angelica, coriander, cumin, green and black tea, is added prior to distillation. Both macerations are combined to charge the still. At the end of distillation, the distillate leaves the still at 80% alc./vol..

This highly complex and concentrated essence is then blended with cognac and sugar. Absolutely no industrial flavourings are used, and the liqueur's distinctive hue comes only via natural colouring – from cocheneal, saffron and caramel.

Review and Tasting

Sampled on 15/02/2024


Clear, vibrant golden orange-yellow.


Intense mandarin peel with green piney notes, vanilla, cognac and a hint of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg.


Rich and slightly sweet with a syrupy mouthfeel. Sugar amplifies intense orange flavours with a hint of refreshing bitter orange and zesty mandarin bite.


Mandarin freshness and zesty bite last throughout the long finish.


Beautifully balanced cognac-laced zesty mandarin orange with complex spice-led botanicals.

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Buy direct from

Difford's Guide
In stock
Bottle size: 70cl
$36.50 USD
Shipping costs calculated at checkout.
Choose your preferred shop:
Difford’s Guide

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Product Information

Size (ml): 700

More about Mandarine Napoleon liqueur

Produced by: De Kuyper Royal Distillers
UK distribution by: Amber Beverage UK
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