Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,151 pages of information and 233,681 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Chartreuse Liqueur

From Graces Guide

Jump to: navigation, search
June 1911.
August 1971.

Chartreuse is a French liqueur composed of distilled alcohol flavored with 130 herbal extracts. The liqueur is named after the Grande Chartreuse monastery where it was formerly produced, located in the Chartreuse Mountains. The liquor is nowadays produced in a factory in the nearby town of Voiron under the supervision of monks from the monastery.

  • 1605 The Carthusian monks at Vauvert, near Paris, were presented with an alchemical manuscript that contained a recipe for an "elixir of long life". The recipe eventually reached the religious order's headquarters at the Grande Chartreuse monastery, in Voiron, near Grenoble. It has since then been used to produce the "Elixir Végétal de la Grande Chartreuse". The formula is said to call for 130 herbs, flowers, and secret ingredients combined in a wine alcohol base. The monks intended their liqueur to be used as medicine.
  • 1737 After being put in charge of the manuscript Brother Frere Jermone Maubec came up with the first Chartreuse Elixir.
  • 1767 The monks adapted the elixir recipe to make what is now called Green Chartreuse.
  • 1793 The monks were expelled from France, and manufacture of the liqueur ceased.
  • 1838 Several years after being allowed to return, the monks developed Yellow Chartreuse, a sweeter, 40% alcoholic (80° proof) liqueur, coloured with saffron.
  • 1903 The monks were again expelled from the monastery following a change in French law, and their real property, including the distillery, was confiscated by the government. The monks took their secret recipe to their refuge in Tarragona, Spain, and began producing their liqueurs with the same label, but with an additional label which said Liqueur fabriquée à Tarragone par les Pères Chartreux ("liquor manufactured in Tarragona by the Carthusian Fathers").
  • At the same time in Voiron a corporation owning the Chartreuse assets produced without benefit of the monks' recipe a liqueur which they sold as Chartreuse, but all attempts to reproduce real Chartreuse failed; sales were very poor.
  • By 1927 the production company was facing bankruptcy, and its shares became nearly worthless. A group of local businessmen in Voiron bought all the shares at a low price and sent them as a gift to the monks in Tarragona.
  • 1935 Some years after regaining possession of the distillery, and beginning to produce Chartreuse again at the monastery, a mudslide destroyed the distillery. The French government assigned Army engineers to relocate and rebuild it at a location near Voiron where the monks had previously set up a distribution point.
  • WWII The government lifted the expulsion order, making the Carthusian brothers once again legal French residents.
  • 2008 The liqueurs are still produced in Voiron using the herbal mixture prepared by three monks at the Grande Chartreuse.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5