|Absinthe Pernod Fils "Garanti Fabriqué en 1913"
This is the classic "benchmark" Pernod Fils with the labels overprinted "Fabriqué en 1913"
(made in 1913). This is a very rare bottling - these bottles were the very last stock produced
by Pernod before the ban in 1914. They were sent to Holland for safekeeping and a small
quantity were released 25 years later for export in 1938 with this special overprinted label.
The balance of the stocks was unfortunately destroyed by bombing during the war. Photos
show the bottle still covered in the original cellar dust!
The Monks' Elixir
|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 there 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
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. There are 30
officers here and our duties shall carry us to many other places, many other countries. Wherever 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 where they built a new distillery. The French government brought chemists, botanists and other
experts to the distillery and to the monastery where, in 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 there. Three of the monks, who have been trained by their predecessors in the art of distilling Chartreuse, occasionally leave
their cells for a short period of time and make the liqueurs. Each month only knows a third of the recipe. They then return to the
solitude of their cells. It is the labors of these three monks that provide the Carthusians the sustenance to pursue their quiet
lives of meditation and prayer.
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