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Chartreuse is inextricably tied to the Carthusian Order of monks. Bruno of Cologne (later to become St. Bruno) founded the order in 1084 after giving up an affluent life in Reims, France. In 1605 the French Artillery Marshall to the King, Hannibal d’Estrees, presented to the Carthusians a mysterious manuscript containing the formula for an “Elixir of Long Life”.

In 1737, as the result of lengthy endeavours, Brother Jerome Maubec succeeded in manufacturing for the first time what is still called “The Herbal Elixir of the Grand-Chartreuse”. Two decades later, Green Chartreuse was created using the same recipe used today. Yellow Chartreuse was created in 1838 by another Brother, Bruno Jacquet – a milder and sweeter version of the famous Green Chartreuse.

Chartreuse’s popularity grew and the production was later moved from the monastery at La Grande Chartreuse to the Fourvoirie Distillery, which was unfortunately destroyed by a landslide in 1935. Since then Chartreuse has been manufactured in Voiron, France.

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Green and Yellow Chartreuse are made from a secret recipe of 130 plants, flowers, bark, roots, and spices and only two monks at Chartreuse are privy to the secret recipe for producing the liqueurs.

While a team of technicians assists in the production of Chartreuse now, the brothers are still solely responsible for the process of macerating the 130 botanical ingredients to obtain their properties before distillation. It is the monks who still combine the batches of natural ingredients at the monastery in specific combinations known only to them. 

The Voiron facility boasts the longest liqueur cellar in the world, with the cool and silent environment providing the ideal conditions for maturation. Some of the barrels are over 100 years old, being salvaged from the original distillery at Fourvoirie.

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