The Chartreuse of 1973-1985 (Tarragona)
While the Voiron Chartreuse was experiencing a true golden age in France, during the 1970's and 1980's (after Chartreuse Diffusion had chosen to diversify its line of products and released a slew of successful ad campaigns), things were not looking so well back in Spain. Chartreuse SAE (the new name of the previous Unión Agricola), in spite of Chartreuse Diffusion's reluctance, decided to manufacture new products in 1973: dry herbal tea. Additional buildings were constructed in order to house the equipment needed to prepare the lyophilisate powder. The Spanish monks were convinced the product would sell, but it ultimately did not. Technical difficulties as well as a lack of customers meant this new tea was a failure.
That same year, the oil crisis hit the Carthusians of Tarragona hard. The Glorious Thirties were over, the distillery couldn't output as much as it once did, sales were drying up... To fight against fate, and try to resurrect the Chartreuse brand, the SAE company released a brand new cuvée on the Spanish market in 1976: the Anisette Chartreuse. A first try that was soon followed by a second version of the liqueur two years later, in 1978, this time with 26% ABV instead of 22% ABV.
To help with the production and distribution of their Chartreuses, the monks partnered with the Spanish branch of the Marie Brizard company. Unfortunately, the latter saw the Anisette Chartreuse as a competitor to its own brand of anisette liqueur and did everything it could to dissuade the Carthusians from selling it. And it worked: in 1980, the Anisette Chartreuse disappeared entirely and everybody forgot about it.
During the 1970's, Chartreuse SAE also tried to replicate the success of the French VEP in Spain. The monks released cuvées produced during the early 1950's and stored for twenty years in their cellars. These bottles were then sold to Spanish customers as "VEP mas de 20 años" and a special ribbon was added to the bottles' necks. Once again, this new product was far from successful and the Tarragona distillery was slowly marching towards its doom, which would happen a few years later.
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.