Chartreuse – Adventures in Booze

So I first heard of Chartreuse in the early half of Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. Huh? What?

Yeah there’s a quick part when a bunch of characters are hanging out at a bar, before Kurt Russell car-murders a bunch of innocent girls; Tarantino pours everyone some shots of a green liqueur, and says “Chartreuse, the only liqueur so good they named a color after it“.

Yeah I know, it’s a part that’s easy to miss given that Rose McGowan and Jordan Ladd are busy being hot, and Kurt Russell is busy being awesome.

Some time later I heard of it again in passing from my friend Casey, I don’t quite remember the context, but I remember remembering it from Death Proof then.

Having my interest piqued, I did some interwebs research and read all about how it was made from a secret recipe by French monks, and all sorts of neat stuff. It sounded kinda cool and mildy sophisticated, and so I added it to the short list of booze that I had any interest in trying.

I’m honestly not much of a drinker, don’t much care for the taste of most types of alcohol, can’t stand beer, and don’t really enjoy being drunk. I don’t really run much chance of becoming an alchy anytime soon. So take my opinion of this classical drink however you want.

I purchased a bottle of Chartreuse from my local neighborhood liquor store back on March 5th, and had planned on drinking it that night, cause I’d been anticipating the experience for a while. As a bottle of the stuff costs upwards of fifty dollars, it wasn’t something that I could really go out and get on impulse, well at least and not feel bad about it. I waited till I got my tax return this year and then used my extra money.

Didn’t get around to actually trying the stuff for another month though, cause the night I got it I got sick, and well ended up just waiting for a time that I felt like boozing. Like I said I’m not much of a drinker, I say boozing for God’s sake.

Chartreuse is 110 proof; 55% percent alcohol by volume. For those not in the know, that means it’s pretty strong stuff. The first thing you notice besides, the wonderful hue, is the smell. It smells GREEN. You know, in the sort of way that some foods are color based, like Jello. It just smells green. The closest comparison I can come up with is that failed 7up soda from like 2003; DNL. That’s was the last thing that I’ve consumed that just felt certifiably GREEN.

It’s kind of hard to describe the aroma, but the taste is even stranger. My first taste was just a straight shot of the stuff, the first poured from the room temperature bottle. I reacted much the same way I usually react to hard drinks, with a amusing grimace and a Keanu-esque Whoa. I really wasn’t prepared for it. It’s the sort of drink that tingles your insides all the way down, and burns quite well. The taste is this strange mix of herbs, spice, sweetness and burning. It’s quite powerful.

It almost reminds me of liquorice, but like a weird liquorice, I don’t know kind of like that but more herbaceous, with some minty-ness. The flavor changes with most every taste. I guess the fact that it’s made from about 130 various plants and flowers would explain that quite well.

My friend had some Mountain Dew, so I tried a bit of Chartreuse in my Dew, and have to say that it was a combo that worked rather well. I’m the sort of person though, who feels that Mountain Dew goes quite well with lots of various types of alcohol. I’ve yet to try Chartreuse with Mountain Dew Throwback, but I shall, cause I imagine that it’ll be somewhere between amazing, and boozy boozy heaven. The Tabasco Sauce you see in the picture there was an idea inspired by various recipes for mixed drinks found online, and it wasn’t a good idea.

So my initial reaction to my expensive bottle of liqueur, was that I was confounded. It was kinda harsh, but then revealed a more mellow aftertaste, with varying degrees of sweetness thrown in. Complex is the best way to describe the stuff. Complex.

I’ve read that the drink is best served a rather cold temperatures, so before starting this little appraisal, I put a single shot in my freezer for about a half hour. When it was nice and cold I grabbed it, took a deep breath and gulped it down. The tingle throughout my body was still there, but the taste itself had changed some, it was a little milder, less violent. It went down considerably smoother.

Having studied to the last drop the contents of my shot glass over the past little while, I still can’t really place a great description of the taste, but have to admit it is interesting. I’m going to have to go ahead and recommend Chartreuse as a drink, cause for one it’ll make me look suave and sophisticated. Also cause this stuff is strong, take a few shots of this, and you’ll be feeling it, and that helps compliment the complexity of the taste.

Chartreuse is a French Liqueur that provides a herbal, sweet mosaic of different tastes to the pallet, and hits ya hard at the same time, I’d say it’s worth a try.

Next Stop Absinthe

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