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Still-Secret Formulas Chartreuse: Only Monks Do It Right
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Meisler, Stanley
Date: Jan 3, 1986
Start Page: 1
Section: 1; Foreign Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Chartreuse liqueur is not distilled and stored there, in any case. A company owned by the monastery produces, stores and markets Chartreuse and its variations from a distillery in the town of Voiron 15 miles to the west. Young women in chartreuse-colored dresses take tourists on guided tours past the enormous barrels in the storage cellars and the ovens in the distillery, but the tourists do not always see the three hooded monks who come every day with their still-secret formula to supervise the distillation.

The liqueur Chartreuse had troubled times. A private company vainly tried to imitate it at the old distillery while the monks used their secret formula to produce a Chartreuse liquor at their monastery in Tarragona, Spain. Under French law, however, they had to market their Spanish product under a name other than Chartreuse. They called it Tarragona.

After the war, the monks resumed production of Chartreuse at the [Voiron] distillery and also kept the Tarragona distillery open to produce Chartreuse for export to Latin America. The same three monks who run the distillery in Voiron spend a few days of the year supervising the operation in Tarragona.

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