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Chartreuse 1956-1964

Pleasure Wine: Chartreuses of 1956-1964


The Chartreuse of 1956-1964 (Voiron)


After many successful ad campaigns (which started in 1955 at the initiative of Jean Blaise, then director of the Compagnie Française de la Grande Chartreuse), sales of Green Chartreuse were finally taking off. Before that, the brand was in a pickle: the Yellow Chartreuse was way ahead of its sibling in terms of sales, as the French market preferred the former. 1955 was also the year the Compagnie Française de la Grande Chartreuse bought the Aigues-Vives distillery, located in the Gard department. That's where the eaux-de-vie that served as the basis for Chartreuse liqueur had been made since 1940.

In 1961, the monk in charge of supervising the entire Chartreuse production line (a man called Dom Jacques-Marie Galliot), sent a letter to the French Health Minister. He wanted the government to distinguish the Élixir Végétal from the regular Chartreuse liqueurs. The official agreed but on one condition: to be sold as medicine, the monks had to reveal the recipe of said elixir. To protect their secret, the Carthusian Fathers refused. As a result, their little bottle of elixir, with its wooden packaging, remained banned from pharmacies.

During the 1960's, exports to the United States were booming, as the Americans were quite fond of Green and Yellow Chartreuse. This led the monks to upgrade their storage cellar in 1966, expanding the existing building. On the other hand, the situation in France was starting to look bleak for the Chartreuse brand, despite the huge popularity of the liqueurs. Indeed, alcohol taxes were steadily rising, forcing the Compagnie Française to change its marketing strategies and diversify its production.


Looking to buy some Chartreuse online? Pleasure Wine is here for you! Since 2011, we are the rare and ancient Chartreuse specialists in France, with dozens of historic periods in store and almost 300 of the finest bottles available for sale.


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