01 OCTOBER 2002: “Only
three brothers know the names of the 130 plants and how to blend and to
“Chartreuse is made according
to extremely complex secret formulae and contains about 130 different herbs.
The monks control distillation, while bottling and sales are conducted
by a secular company. The considerable royalties accruing to the order
finance much charitable work. It is the green Chartreuse that is the strong
one; the yellow is slightly weaker and marginally sweeter. There is also
the rare élixir végétal, nearly eighty per
cent alcohol, which is probably very close to the original medicinal compound.
The GREEN CHARTREUSE is the only green liqueur in the world with a completely
natural color. It is powerful and different.
“Only three brothers know
the names of the 130 plants and how to blend and to distill them. They
are also the only ones who know which plants they have to macerate to produce
the green and yellow colors. And they alone supervise the low ageing in
Price: $45.83. To
“Chartreuse is an herbal
liqueur made by the Carthusian Monks near Grenoble, France. According to
the tale, the formula for chartruese was invented by a 16th century alchemist
as an attempt to create aqua vitae (the waters of life.) Aqua vitae was
believed to restore youth to the aged, endow animation to the dead, and
be a key ingredient in the creation of the philosophers stone. Though this
attempt at its creation seems to fall somewhat short of the legendary effects,
it was promoted as a heal-all tonic by the descendant of the alchemist,
and was bequeathed to the Carthusian Order upon his death. This formula
of 130 herbs has been secret for nearly 400 years. Today, only three brothers
of that monestary know how to make chartreuse.
is made in three varieties; yellow chartreuse, green chartreuse, and VEP
elixir chartreuse. Yellow chartreuse is a pale golden color, extremely
sweet, and tastes roughly like plum wine with a touch of honey, or perhaps
a delicate version of Benedictine (which is probably related.) Green chartreuse
is fiery; the shade of green actually named for this liquor denotes an
intense herbal taste vaguely reminiscent of absinthe. Also like absinthe,
it has an extremely high alcohol content. VEP elixir chartreuse, the rarest
and most expensive kind, sacrifices a small amount of green’s intensity
for all of the sweetness of the yellow. Only 100 bottles of VEP elixir
are produced each year, and it is the variant closest to the original alchemical
formula. It is also, supposedly, the most difficult to create.
the precise herbs in chartreuse are not publically known, there is a
small quantity of thujone, the active chemical in wormwood (and consequently,
absinthe.) This considered, it is no surprise that the intoxication caused
by chartruese is both stronger than it’s alcohol content (110 proof) would
otherwise indicate, and slightly different because of thujone’s psychoactive
chartreuse is particularly loved in the goth scene because of it’s efficiency;
a very small quantity can maintain a buzz for most of an evening, and a
larger quantity can take the sharp edges off of everything. For many, it
is the poor man’s absinthe; it has a smidgen of its psychotropic effects
because of the thujone, and it has an herbal taste and a sharp kick reminiscent
of absinthe experience. A few shots of green chartreuse, and you’re completely
is loved for these reasons and more; its rarity, its remarkable taste,
and its fascinating and mysterious lineage.
chartreuse is not as popular in the goth scene as its sister liquors; there
is nothing particularly wrong with it, but the others outshine it in every
the popularization of Chartreuse within the goth scene can be attributed
to an additional source; Poppy Z. Brite. In her debut novel, Lost Souls,
she mentions (Green) Chartreuse eight times within the prologue alone,
and is the alcoholic drink of choice among the undead throughout the novel.
Bela Lugosi’s “I never drink… wine” be damned; the zing of Chartreuse
seems potent enough to get a rise out of the dead and the living. Well,
at least Poppy thinks so.
Commentary by Clifford Hartleigh
Low, Thursday, April 30, 1998.