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Chartreuse Green VEP Liqueur (500ml)
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- ABV 54%
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.
VEP stands for "Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge" (exceptionally long maturation). This liqueur incorporates the same classic combination of 130+ botanicals, however with the addition of a prolonged maturation period. The objective is to elevate the liqueur to an extra level of integration, refining the flavours in large oak vats. This subtle expression of Chartreuse is produced in strictly limited quantities every year and is a must have for the top shelf.
Tasting note: Pale emerald green appearance. Such is the seamless integration of the aroma, it's difficult to discern its component parts. It can only be described as an amalgam that seems to fuse fresh menthol and liquorice with sappy, earthy, root like scents while adding a further herbaceous dimension that includes lavender, oregano, tarragon and who knows what else. The palate is rich, plush and viscous. The creamy entry carries through to the juicy mid palate offering an intense, warming burst of semi sweet herbal flavours - liquid liquorice, tarragon, indian spices and green tea are most salient, but no doubt others will discover more again. Spiritous and gently warming, this is remarkably mild given its high ABV, and though it concludes slightly short, this remains palate cleansing, mentally invigorating and deeply satisfying as only Chartreuse can be. Recommended as a superb after dinner drink or with anything chocolate. 54% Alc./Vol.
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