WHAT IS CHARTREUSE
The Chartreuse liqueurs are named after the “Ordre des Chartreux” as the Carthusian Order is known in French, which is itself named after the place where Bruno and his seven companions decided to settle in 1084: the “Desert” of Chartreuse.
They built a hermitage in these austere mountains to live in solitude together, in prayer and contemplation in the silence of the monastery. Over the years, the Carthusians used plants for their therapeutic properties. Thanks to their reputation as apothecaries, in 1605 at the Vauvert monastery in Paris, the Maréchal d’Estrées entrusted them with a manuscript containing a mysterious recipe composed of 130 plants, flowers, roots, berries and bark which could be used to produce an elixir for “long life”.
1605… a symbolic date as it marks the start of the Carthusians’ research…
The Carthusian fathers were charged with working on the recipe contained in the manuscript and finding the most perfect elixir possible. This quest lasting over one and a half centuries resulted in a final product established in 1764 called the “Elixir Végétal de la Grande-Chartreuse”. It was rapidly distributed to the local populations as a remedy, especially during the cholera epidemic in 1832. The recipe for the Elixir has remained unchanged ever since 1764.
Over the course of these years, the monks’ knowledge enabled them to develop the elixir. In 1840, Green Chartreuse, also called “liqueur de santé”, or “health liqueur”, was developed, based on the basic recipe for the Elixir Végétal. In the same year, a recipe for a new, sweeter, yellow-coloured liqueur was developed using the same set of plants from the manuscript. This was yellow Chartreuse, which would become known as “Reine des liqueurs”.
Chartreuse has succeeded in crossing the centuries by adapting to the different generations.
In 2012, a desire and willingness emerged to organise and celebrate a worldwide Chartreuse Day in collaboration with the professional community – bartenders, sommeliers, chefs and wine merchants. This was to be an opportunity to celebrate the liqueur all over the world and share its values through an enjoyable, convivial event.
Using the year 1605 as a starting point, the date of 16.05, May 16th, was chosen
The “16.05” event was born, a highlight providing an opportunity each year to support the professional community and raise awareness through various activities via its importers, distributors and their teams with the aim of better serving the liqueur.
16.05 has become a not-to-be-missed celebration in over twenty countries. Here’s to 16.05 ! Here’s to Chartreuse !