Cracking the Date Code on Vintage Chartreuse

by | Dec 29, 2014 | Bar Ingredients | 4 comments

Chartreuse has long been one of my favorite spirits and one of the main reasons is because of the amazing history of the product. Recently, I had a chance to talk to Tim Masters of Frederick Wildman and Sons, the importer of Chartreuse, and gained even more of an appreciation for the product.

What is Chartreuse?

Chartreuse is a spirit infused with 130 different herbs and spices and it was originally created as an elixir of long life. It has amazing complexity and is one of the only spirits in the world that gets better the longer it sits in the bottle.

The original formulation is believed to have been created by an alchemist and gifted to the monks of the Order of Chartreuse in 1605. It has been a closely guarded secret ever since and historically only a handful of people know the entire recipe (2-3 monks in the world). Each monk knows the entire recipe and only 2 monks actively work on the product. One of the monks is responsible for purchasing all of the ingredients and the other monk is responsible for blending the raw ingredients so others can help work on the production process.

More than the contents that are in the bottle, Chartreuse represents a devotion of faith and sales of Chartreuse help to sustain a life of prayer and worship for the monks of the Order of Chartreuse.