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An Elixir From the French Alps, Frozen in Time

“The secret of Chartreuse has long been the despair of distillers, just as the natural blue of forget-me-nots has been the despair of painters,” reads an 1886 document referred to in a recent history of the company and order. Father Holleran spent five years overseeing the distillation process, ordering ingredients and planning its production schedules. When he departed the site in 1990, he became the only living outsider to know the liqueur’s ancient formula.“It’s safe with me,” he said. “Oddly enough, they didn’t make me sign anything when I left.”This trade secret is both a marketing coup …

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