Green vs Yellow Chartreuse

Green and Yellow Chartreuse are two types of liqueur that have been around for centuries.


Both are made by Carthusian monks in France and are known for their complex herbal flavors. However, there are some key differences between the two that make them unique.

Green Chartreuse is the bolder of the two spirits, with an ABV of 55 percent. It has a sharp, herbal taste that settles into a warm, almost minty finish. Yellow Chartreuse, on the other hand, is somewhat milder and sweeter at 40% ABV. It has a more delicate flavor profile that is still complex and intriguing.

Both Green and Yellow Chartreuse are made from a blend of herbs, plants, and flowers that are macerated in alcohol. However, the exact recipe for each is a closely guarded secret. What is known is that Green Chartreuse is made from a sugar beet-based spirit, whereas Yellow Chartreuse is made using a grape-based spirit. Both are distilled in copper pots and aged in charred French oak barrels to give them their unique flavor.

History of Chartreuse

Chartreuse is a herbal liqueur that has been produced by Carthusian monks in France for over 400 years. The recipe for Chartreuse dates back to the 16th century, and the exact formula is known only to a select few monks who have taken a vow of silence.


The Carthusian monks were founded in 1084 by St. Bruno in the Chartreuse Mountains, near Grenoble in France. The order follows a strict code of silence, solitude and prayer. The monks of the Chartreuse Monastery, located in Voiron, France, have been producing Chartreuse since the 18th century.

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According to legend, the recipe for Chartreuse was given to the Carthusian monks by Francois Annibal d’Estrées, Marshal of King Henri IV’s artillery, in 1605. The manuscript containing the recipe was said to have been given to him by a hermit who had been living in the mountains. The recipe was then passed on to the Carthusian monks, who began producing the liqueur on a small scale.

In 1737, the Carthusian monks were given permission by the King of France to produce Chartreuse on a larger scale. The production of Chartreuse was then moved to the Grande Chartreuse Monastery in the Chartreuse Mountains.

During the French Revolution, the production of Chartreuse was halted and the monks were forced to flee the country. The recipe for Chartreuse was saved by one of the monks, who took it with him to Italy. The production of Chartreuse resumed in Voiron in 1810, after the monks returned to France.

Chartreuse has been enjoyed by many famous figures throughout history, including Napoleon, who is said to have enjoyed the liqueur after meals. Today, Chartreuse is still produced by French monks using the same recipe that has been passed down for centuries.

Production Process

Both Green Chartreuse and Yellow Chartreuse are made using a similar production process, but differ in the choice of botanicals used and the aging process.


The production of Chartreuse begins with the collection of over 130 different plants, flowers, and herbs, including saffron and anise, which are then macerated in alcohol. The resulting mixture is distilled in copper pots to create a base spirit.

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For Green Chartreuse, the base spirit is then macerated with a second set of plants and herbs, including génépi, to create its signature flavor and green color. The final product is bottled at 55% ABV.

Yellow Chartreuse, on the other hand, uses a different set of botanicals and a grape-based spirit as its base. The resulting liqueur is milder in flavor and has a yellow color. It is bottled at 40% ABV.

Both Green and Yellow Chartreuse are then aged in oak barrels, which adds complexity to their flavor. The aging process can take several years, and during this time, the liqueurs are carefully monitored and tasted to ensure quality.

The exact recipe for Chartreuse is a closely guarded secret, known only to a select group of monks who have been producing the elixir of long life since the 18th century. Despite the secret recipe, the distinct flavors and aromas of Chartreuse have made it a popular ingredient in cocktails and a favorite among liqueur enthusiasts.

Types of Chartreuse

Chartreuse is a French liqueur that has been produced by Carthusian monks since the 18th century.


It is made from a secret blend of 130 herbs, plants, and flowers, and is known for its unique taste and bright green color. There are several types of Chartreuse available, each with its own unique flavor and alcohol content.

Green Chartreuse

Green Chartreuse is the original and most well-known variety of Chartreuse. It is made from a blend of 130 herbs and plants, and is aged for several years in oak casks to achieve its distinct flavor. Green Chartreuse has a strong herbal taste, with notes of anise, mint, and sage. It is also quite potent, with an alcohol content of 110 proof.

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Yellow Chartreuse

Yellow Chartreuse is a milder version of Chartreuse, with a lower alcohol content of 80 proof. It is made from a similar blend of herbs and plants as Green Chartreuse, but with a slightly different recipe and aging process. Yellow Chartreuse has a sweeter taste than Green Chartreuse, with notes of honey, saffron, and cinnamon.

White Chartreuse

White Chartreuse is a rare and little-known variety of Chartreuse. It is made from a blend of the same 130 herbs and plants as Green and Yellow Chartreuse, but with a different recipe and aging process. White Chartreuse has a milder taste than both Green and Yellow Chartreuse, with notes of citrus and vanilla.

Chartreuse VEP

Chartreuse VEP (Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolongé) is a special edition of Chartreuse that is aged for at least 10 years in oak casks. It is available in both Green and Yellow varieties, and has a smoother, more complex flavor than regular Chartreuse. Chartreuse VEP is also more expensive than regular Chartreuse, making it a popular choice for special occasions.

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