Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Benet's Balm - a super Scottish beeswax balm

Featured product of the month
Benets Balm

Maybe some products somehow become imbued with the ambience of the place in which they are made. On the other hand, maybe that’s a bit fanciful.

Yet if a ‘balm’ was going to be made anywhere, then it seems right that the word, with its soothing and peaceful overtones, should be associated with this sheltered part of Moray, east of Inverness in the north of Scotland.

Benets Balm is made at Pluscarden Abbey. We took these pictures on a bright but cool May morning, from the protecting wooded hills that lie to the north of it. There are miles of walks and trails here, all within easy reach of Elgin. The original abbey was founded as long ago as 1230 and the buildings were damaged by the English king Edward during his invasion of Scotland in 1303. So it wasn’t always so peaceful - as the place was also burned by the renegade Alexander Stewart (aka the Wolf of Badenoch) in 1390.

In common with other monasteries in Scotland, it fell into disuse after the Reformation. However, it was re-activated by Benedictines (from Prinknash in Gloucestershire, England) in 1948 and restoration work got under way. It’s now an active religious community and a centre for spiritual retreat. And, if you visit on a sunny day when the spring flowers are out, you’ll hear not just the peaceful, sleepy song of willow warblers and chiffchaffs but also the continuous hum of bees – a reminder of the beeswax basis for Benets Balm.

No comments: