Herbsaint first appeared in 1934. It was the creation of J.M. Legendre and Reginald Parker of New Orleans, who learned how to make absinthe while in France during World War I.
It first went on sale following the repeal of Prohibition, and was unique in its category as an absinthe substitute, as opposed to a pastis.
Herbsaint was originally produced under the name "Legendre Absinthe", although it never contained Grande Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).
The Federal Alcohol Control Administration soon objected to Legendre's use of the word "absinthe", so the name was changed to "Legendre Herbsaint". The Sazerac Company bought J.M. Legendre & Co. in June 1949. Herbsaint was bottled at 120 proof and 100 proof for many years, but the recipe was modified in the mid 1950s, when Herbsaint began being bottled at 100 proof and 90 proof.
By the early 1970s the 100 proof variation was discontinued, and the 90 proof version remains the predominant Herbsaint available today.
In December 2009, the Sazerac Company reintroduced J.M. Legendre's original 100 proof recipe as Herbsaint Original.