Discover the Colors of Chartreuse
Discover our exceptional collection of this iconic liqueur, renowned for its enchanting aromas and unique flavors that awaken the senses. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Chartreuse through its different colors: green, yellow, white, and many more. Each of these bottles embodies a unique heritage and distinct taste, the result of monastic dedication and meticulous craftsmanship. Enjoy these rare and ancient Chartreuses, available at Pleasure Wine, for unforgettable tasting moments.
In 1605, one of the officers of the French king Henri IV, François Annibal d'Estrées, entrusted the monks of the Chartreuse de Vauvert with a manuscript containing the recipe for an elixir of long life. For several years, the brothers tried to decipher the mysterious document and, after numerous attempts, it was brother Jérôme Maubec who finally developed the formula for what is now known as the Élixir Végétal de la Grande Chartreuse. This was in January 1762.
With an alcoholic strength by volume of 71°, this Herbal Elixir is a potion composed of more than 130 medicinal plants and is supposed to bring longevity and well-being. For years, the Carthusians recommended it to fight stomach aches, the flu, fatigue, and many infectious diseases. Moreover, the monks' elixir was widely used as an antispasmodic during the cholera epidemic that hit France in 1832.
This tonic with rich aromas of carefully selected alpine herbs, exotic spices, barks, and rare plants offers a deep and comforting tasting experience, imbued with the centuries-old wisdom and craftsmanship of the monks. The Herbal Elixir has a very pronounced menthol flavor, with a hint of freshly cut grass, licorice, and chewing tobacco.
In 1764, two years after the birth of the Herbal Elixir, Brother Antoine Dupuy, a student of Brother Jérôme, wrote a new version of the original recipe. More sirupy and sweeter (55° ABV instead of 71°), the result was called "Liqueur de Santé" (Health Liqueur). It is none other than the prototype Green Chartreuse that we are now all familiar with, before it adopted its official name in 1840.
By the end of the 18th century, the success of this new liqueur was immediate, although sales were localized around thre Grenoble region. In 1834, the monks sold this Chartreuse for the first time in one-liter bottles, with a label featuring elements that would truly shape the identity of the future monastic brand: the cruciferous globe, the signature of father Dom Louis Garnier, and the mention "Liqueur fabriquée à la Gde-Chartreuse." Production later started to pick up, leading to the success we know today.
The Green Chartreuse is one of the most famous jewels of the Carthusian order. This timeless liqueur is known for its powerful and complex flavor palette. With its nuances of alpine herbs, peppermint, cloves, and tree sap, the Green Chartreuse opens the doors to an enchanting and memorable tasting experience, constantly evolving over time.
The Carthusians' experiments never stop. That is why, in 1838, brother Colomban Mure-Ravaux developed a liqueur even sweeter than the Green Chartreuse to be. To satisfy the tastes of those who prefer less alcoholic spirits, the liqueur was lighter and its alcohol content was reduced to 48°, and then to 43°. This was the birth of the "Liqueur Mélisse" (Melissa Liqueur), named after the significant amount of plants of the same name used in the new recipe, hence its pale yellow color (the melissa flowers being white).
In 1840, the chief pharmacist, Brother Bruno Jacquet, used the Melissa as a base to develop a third liqueur: the Yellow Chartreuse. A masterstroke for a product quickly adopted by the general public, who emptied the shelves. Merchants and consumers even nicknamed this one the "Queen of Liqueurs," which prompts the monks to officially change the name of their Health Liqueur to "Green Chartreuse".
The Yellow Chartreuse is a luminous embodiment of the monastic heritage of the Carthusians. This sweet and refreshing liqueur is characterized by subtle notes of anise, turmeric, citrus, and delicate honey, offering a light and subtle mouthfeel. The Yellow Chartreuse is ideal for those who do not appreciate the menthol taste of the Green, offering a more delicate experience.
Brother Bruno Jacquet continued to experiment in his pharmacy. In 1860, he put the finishing touches on his new White Chartreuse. This was a lighter version of the Yellow one: fewer plants were used in its creation, and the entire final coloring phase was avoided. This explains the smoothness of this version (although it also had an ABV of 43°), as well as its almost transparent color.
Unfortunately, this Chartreuse did not last very long. Eclipsed by the success of the Yellow Chartreuse, despite its lower price, the White Chartreuse temporarily ceased production in 1880. A new version was released six years later, with an alcoholic strength of 37°, but once again it failed being successful. Sales thus stopped for good in 1900.
Rarer and less known than its counterparts, this liqueur is distinguished by its subtle and delicate character, revealing sweet floral notes and sublime citrus touches. Of exceptional finesse, the White Chartreuse offers an experience imbued with lightness and harmony, perfect for those seeking a touch of freshness and finesse in their Chartreuse tasting session.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the monks further diversified their offers by creating a range of fruit Chartreuses. The first was the Orange Chartreuse, born in 1972. The initial version of this liqueur had an ABV of 17°, and a second edition released in 1977 had a strength of 20°. The excess alcohol was necessary to ensure good preservation of the product. Its production ceased in 1982, due to a lack of enthusiasm from the public.
This Orange Chartreuse is a blend of the original Green Chartreuse and orange extracts. The result is a bright and vibrant creation that embodies the essence of the Mediterranean region with a palette of flavors like sweet orange, lemon zest, and subtle spices. It adds a touch of sunshine to any tasting experience; a real exotic and warm note.
In 1975, Chartreuse Diffusion launched its Blueberry Chartreuse on the market. Just like the first version of the Orange Chartreuse, the Blueberry one had a strength of 17°. It contained 20% blueberry juice and 80% Green Chartreuse. It was the first in a series of ephemeral liqueurs with red fruits, as in 1984, the Raspberry Chartreuse (21° strength) was released. In 1987, it was the turn of the Blackcurrant Chartreuse and the Wild Blackberry Chartreuse to see the light of day.
The Blueberry Chartreuse and its counterparts are bold creations with intense notes of fruits and vibrant richness, offering a delicate balance between the delightful sweetness of berries and the complexity of menthol-rich alpine herbs. If you are an avid lover of red fruits but wish to enhance their taste with a little touch of freshness, this Chartreuse is made for you!
On the Tarragona side, the monks also offered new Chartreuses to their audience. Thus, in 1976, the Anisette Chartreuse was born, launched by Chartreuse SAE. Two versions exist: the first series with an ABV of 22° (1976-1978) and the second with 26° (1978-1980). Unfortunately, the market decided to shun this new Chartreuse almost entirely, and sales quickly dwindled. The Anisette was part of the very last Spanish vintages before the definitive closure of the production site.
The Anisette Chartreuse is a captivating interpretation of the Mediterranean anise tradition. This liqueur combines the distinctive aroma of star anise with the complexity of alpine herbs to create an experience of refined elegance and subtle depth. This deliciously balanced Chartreuse promises a sweet and soothing tasting experience, perfect for connoisseurs looking for a liqueur that's not too strong.
Let us not forget the Génépi produced by the Carthusians. This version of the traditional alcohol of the Alps emerged from the cellars of Chartreuse Diffusion in 1984. The monks drew inspiration from the ancestral recipe of the mountaineers to create their own liqueur based on wormwood (a family of alpine plants that comprises several hundred members). Of all the attempts to diversify the selection of products during the 1970s and 1980s, the Génépi des Père Chartreux is the only liqueur that is still sold to this day.
A love letter to wild plants, which has beautifully captured the pure and raw essence of the mountain. With its intense aromas of plants, delicate flowers, and distinct herbal notes, the Génépi des Pères Chartreux will transport you to the snowy peaks of the Alps, offering an authentic and unforgettable tasting experience.Read more