Will Chartreuse be Harder to Find? Monks Behind Popular Herbal Liqueur Decide to Limit Production to Focus on ‘Solitude and Prayer’ - Gin Raiders
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Will Chartreuse be Harder to Find? Monks Behind Popular Herbal Liqueur Decide to Limit Production to Focus on ‘Solitude and Prayer’

Green Chartreuse, Élixir Végétal and Yellow Chartreuse. The monks behind these well-loved herbal liqueurs have announced their decision to limit production.

The monks responsible for making the highly sought after cocktail ingredient Green Chartreuse have announced their decision to limit the production of their herbal liqueurs in order to focus on “solitude and prayer,” according to a letter.

The letter, sent on Jan. 16 and addressed “dear valuable partner,” details the Carthusian monk’s decision to not increase their volumes of production for the line of Chartreuse liqueurs so that they may return to their primary goal of protecting their monastic life.

The letter states:

“In 2021, the decision was made from the Carthusian monks to not increase their volume of production for the Chartreuse liqueurs. They are limiting production to focus on their primary goal: protect their monastic life and devote their time to solitude and prayer.”

“In addition, the monks are not looking to grow the liquor beyond what they need to sustain their order. Making millions of cases does not make sense in today’s environmental context and will have a negative impact on the planet in the very short term.”

For the uninitiated, Chartreuse is an herbal, bitter liqueur product made using a secretive blend of 130 plants, herbs and flowers. The original recipe for the so-called elixir of life dates back to 1605 when a manuscript was bestowed upon the Carthusian monks by François Hannibal d’Estrées.

Due to the popularization of home mixology and continued appreciation for good cocktails, Chartreuse is considered a highly coveted ingredient. And, by ranging in prices from $60 to upwards of $100, it’s also quite the expensive ingredient.

Furthermore, Chartreuse is often incredibly hard to find, making the decision to limit production a bit of a setback for lovers of the tasty spirit.

The letter continues to explain that the distribution of Chartreuse products will be limited to the company’s “core and historical markets.”

“This unexpected situation leads us to make strategic decision for the mid-term and to put all our markets, including France under allocation,” the letter continues. “We have decided to work exclusively with our core and historical markets. Our vision is to fulfill needs from our domestic market as much as we can support it. We’ll be continuing to maintain a relevant presence to the test of our strategical markets: North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania.”

“Basically, we look to do less but better and for longer. Using our volumes wisely towards the preferred channel of distribution, to protect the On-Trade development more ambassadors through sales team and trade experience.”

Each Chartreuse product — Green (55% ABV), Yellow (43 % ABV) and the concentrated Herbal Elixir “de la Grande-Chartreuse (69% ABV)” — is considered a digestif with a range of uses. The Chartreuse company recommends enjoying each spirit by itself in small measures, over ice or in a variety of cocktails.

Most notably, Green Chartreuse is enjoyed in the beloved Prohibition-era cocktail the Last Word, where it is combined with gin, maraschino liqueur and fresh lime juice.

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Candie Getgen is the managing editor for Gin Raiders. Before immersing herself in the world of spirits journalism, Candie has been many things: a bartender, a literary journal editor, an English teacher — and even a poet. Now, Candie shares her passion for gin with the world and hopes to help others fall in love with it, too (if they haven't already!). When not writing, Candie enjoys sipping an extra-dry martini while painting or relaxing by the pool with a thrilling mystery novel.