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1912-1913 | Export

Pleasure Wine: 1912-1913 Chartreuses

 

The Chartreuse of 1912-1913, Export (Tarragona)

 

After the Carthusian monks were exiled to Spain, they were still set on exporting their bottles to France. In 1907, thanks to a court judgment, they were finally allowed to sell their Chartreuse liqueur on French soil. Before that, everything they sent by boat to their local distributor (Mr. Dubonnet) was stuck in limbo and couldn't be sold. The official reason given by the authorities to explain the ban was that the Fathers were trying to sell imitations of the State Chartreuse sold by Cusenier (the distiller hired by the liquidator Lecouturier and the Prime Minister Émile Combes). The creators of the original Chartreuse liqueur were thus treated as vulgar forgers.

The forced departure of the Carthusian Fathers and the acquisition of their famous "Chartreuse" brand by the French State marked the beginning of a marketing war in France. To distinguish themselves from the "official" Chartreuses sold in the country (and only in the country, as the Compagnie Fermière created by Cusenier and Lecouturier was unable to sell outside of France; following a 1908 court decision, which declared the monks to be the sole owners of their brand outside the French territory), the holy men decided to modify the labels on their bottles. As a result, from 1912 to 1913, all the Chartreuses exported to France had two labels on them.

The first label was the original from 1869, since the French public was familiar with it. As for the second one, it was a bit similar to the label used for the "Tarragona" Chartreuse sold in Spain since 1904. The message the Carthusians wanted to send to their former customers was the following: If you used to like the Chartreuse made by the monks in France, before the Government exiled them, you'll love this new product, made by the same people and using the same techniques. Thanks to this double label, consumers could now better distinguish the original Chartreuse from the copy sold by Cusenier (which was ironically advertised as the only "real one").

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