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Chartreuse 1605 Elixir Liqueur (700ml)
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- ABV 56%
Some spirits are so entrenched in history that their origins are lost in time. Their compositions become the subject of much speculation and are secretly guarded.
Chartreuse is one such spirit, its roots closely associated with the Carthusian religious order that gave it its name. In 1605, a manuscript was given by Marshall d'Estrees to the monks of the Vauvert Chartreuse (today's Luxembourg gardens in Paris), containing the formulation for an "Elixir de longue vie" using the quasi totality of the known pharmacopea. The origins of this manuscript are still unclear and the only thing that remains certain is the medieval and alchemic nature of the document. The Carthusian Order was already at the forefront of distillation techniques, having inherited the works of famous alchemists Arno de Villanova and his student, Raymond Lulle, amongst others. But the manuscripts were so complex that the monks only partially used their formulas. It was not until 1737, when Friar Jerome Maubec fine-tuned a recipe with no less than 130 plants, spices and other secret ingredients, that the "Elixir Vegetal de la Grande Chartreuse" realised its present incarnation.
Since then, only two monks have known the exact formulation at any one time.
The commercialisation of the "Elixir Vegetal" began off the back of a mule. Proclaimed as a powerful tonic, it was not something to be consumed on a daily basis. Over time, the monks recognised the demand for a more approachable liqueur. That liqueur can be found today in the form of Chartreuse's 1605 Elixir. The product's success ensued, surviving the legal vagaries of the Order that had to relocate to Catalonia for a time. There they created the famous Tarragona distillery while fighting for the right to retain their original recipe.
While we enjoy Chartreuse in Australia under its familiar forms (Green & Yellow), we felt there was a definite need to introduce the more elaborate and original versions of the liqueur to Australians: Chartreuse V.E.P, Chartreuse 9th century, 1605 Elixir and Cuvee M.O.F. Without question, they are amongst the most complex and enthralling spirits on the planet.
'1605' is a recreation of the original recipe offered to the Carthusian monks, also known as "Elixir vegetal". The original tonic was primarily used as a remedy for stomach ailments, however considered too potent for regular consumption due to its high abv of 69%, thus a lower proof version was created.
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