OLD GLASS BOTTLE Chartreuse : The Monks' Elixir Liquor

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  • Item Category: Alcohol & Smoking
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Apr 15, 2010
  • Channel: Auction House

The Monks' Elixir Liquor

Up for bid is a very old bottle which was dug up under a home in New York. It has etched on it "Chartreuse " along with other words which I believe to be French. The bottle measures approx. 9-1/2" tall x 3" wide. It has alot of cloudiness but I don't detect any chips. It is amazing it has made it so far without being broken and, i assure you, it will arrive at your doorstep that way as well!

's what a website i found had to say about this bottle and it's origin and contents: In 1605, Francois Hannibal d’Estrees, marshal of the French king’s artillery, gave the Carthusian fathers at their monastery in Vauvert, near Paris, an already ancient manuscript bearing the title "Elixir of Long Life". Following the initial use of portions of the recipe at Vauvert, the manuscript was sent to La Grande Chartreuse. As in all monasteries, at La Grande Chartreuse t was an apothecary, Brother Jerome Maubec, who served the medical needs of the monastery and the residents of the local area with remedies made from local herbs, plants, spices and other ingredients. Early in the 18th century, Brother Maubec undertook the task of unraveling the manuscript’s complex directions for compounding the "Elixir of Long Life." Brother Maubec died before completing this challenge but, on his deathbed, he passed what he had learned on to his successor, Brother Antoine. Brother Antoine completed the translation of the recipe in 1737 and, although it apparently did not prolong life, with 130 herbs and spices infused into a base of 71 percent wine alcohol, it did have many curative powers. The monks became distillers of this medicinal elixir.
Green Chartreuse -- a milder and smoother form of the elixir at only 55 percent alcohol -- was developed shortly after distilling began. And, in 1838, Yellow Chartreuse -- even milder, smoother and sweeter at 40 percent alcohol -- was introduced.
In 1848, 30 officers from the Army of the Alps, stationed nearby the monastery, were invited to a tasting of Yellow Chartreuse. "Reverend Father," said the group’s senior officer, "This Yellow Chartreuse is indeed a nectar. The world must learn of its exquisite taste and its benefits to one’s health. T are 30 officers and our duties shall carry us to many other places, many other countries. Wver we go, we shall demand Chartreuse. Prepare yourself to fill many bottles." The success of these "military salesmen" was astounding and the fame of Chartreuse liqueurs spread throughout Europe. By the beginning of the 20th century, millions of bottles of Chartreuse liqueurs were being sold all over the world. Even the Russian Tsar Nicolas II insisted that a bottle of Chartreuse always be on his table.
The world-wide reputation of the Chartreuse liqueurs gave the Carthusians a high profile in France and the government coveted the profits the monks realized. In 1904, the French government nationalized both the monastery and the distillery. The monks, unwilling to give up the secret of making Chartreuse, fled to a Carthusian monastery in Tarragona, Spain w they built a new distillery. The French government brought chemists, botanists and other experts to the distillery and to the monastery w, in an attempt to recreate Chartreuse, they searched the bins w the plants, herbs and spices had been stored. Despite this massive effort, they failed. The public wanted the genuine liqueur and ignored the counterfeit beverage made by the government’s company. With a lack of sales, the French company counterfeiting Chartreuse could not survive. Local citizens in the area of the monastery bought the failed company and returned it, as a gift, to the ownership of the Carthusians in 1929.
Today, although the monastery has been designated a national monument by the French government, the monks are allowed to live t Three of the monks, who have been trained by their predecessors in the art of distilling Chartreuse, occasionally leave t...