Christianity and Green Chartreuse: Saki

274_frere-charles

People may say what they like about the decay of Christianity, the religious system that produced green Chartreuse can never really die

Saki

Reginald on Christmas Presents” (contained in the 1904 collection Reginald)
The Order of Chartreuse was more than 500 years old when, in 1605, at a Chartreuse monastery in Vauvert, a small suburb of Paris, the monks received a gift from Francois Hannibal d’ Estrées, Marshal of King’s Henri IV artillery : an already ancient manuscript from an “Elixir” soon to be nicknamed “Elixir of Long Life”. At the beginning of the 18th century, the manuscript was sent to the Mother House of the Order – La Grande Chartreuse – in the mountains not far from Grenoble. Here an exhaustive study of the manuscript was undertaken. The Monastery’s Apothecary, Frère Jerome Maubec, finally unravelled the mystery and, in 1737, drew up the practical formula for the preparation of the Elixir. The distribution and sales of this new medicine were limited. One of the monks of La Grande Chartreuse, Frère Charles, would load his mule with the small bottles that he sold in Grenoble and other nearby villages. So tasty was this elixir that it was often used as a beverage rather than a medicine. Recognizing this, the monks, in 1764, adapted the elixir recipe to make a milder beverage which we know today as “Green Chartreuse» – 55% alcohol, 110 proof. The success of this liqueur was immediate and its fame was no longer restricted to the area around La Grande Chartreuse. The French Revolution erupted in 1789. Members of all Religious Orders were ordered out of the country. The Chartreuse monks left France in 1793. They made a copy of the manuscript kept by one of them who remained in the Monastery. Another Monk was in charge of the original. Shortly after leaving the “Grande Chartreuse” he was arrested and sent to prison in Bordeaux. Fortunately, he was not searched and was able to secretly pass the original manuscript to one of his friends Dom Basile Nantas. Dom Basile, convinced the Order would never come back to France and unable to make the Elixir himself, sold the recipe to Monsieur Liotard, a pharmacist in Grenoble. Mr. Liotard never produced the Elixir. In 1810, when the Emperor Napoleon ordered all the “secret” recipes of medicines to be sent to the Ministry of the Interior, Monsieur Liotard duly followed the law and submitted the manuscript. It was returned to him marked “Refused”. Refused as not considered “secret”, already well known. When Monsieur Liotard died, his heirs returned the manuscript to the Chartreuse Monks who had returned to their Monastery in 1816.
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About layanglicana

Author of books on Calcutta, Delhi and Dar es Salaam, I am now blogging as a lay person about the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. I am also blogging about the effects of World War One on the village of St Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
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2 Responses to Christianity and Green Chartreuse: Saki

  1. Pingback: Christianity and Green Chartreuse: Saki | Chartreuse Liquor & Cocktails | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: Christianity and Green Chartreuse: Saki | green...

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