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Issue 18 – Assumption 2023



Odds and ends from the staff of The Lamp.


✥ Those of us who go to the liquor store as a hobby are no doubt aware that for about two years now there has been a shortage of Chartreuse. It began on the margins. First it was difficult to find a bottle of the green V.E.P., then the yellow. But soon, even those unwilling to spend two hundred eighty dollars on a digestif felt the pinch as the standard version also became unavailable. Liquor store owners around the country explained to dissatisfied customers that this was a genuine supply problem; and they had no expectation of restocking what Quentin Tarantino called “the only liquor so good that they named a color after it.”

The reason behind the shortage is that the Carthusians of the Grande Chartreuse, who have made the liqueur more or less continuously since the seventeenth century, do not care to meet demand, which has increased in the past few years. They decided, after much reflection, that producing more Chartreuse was a distraction: “We wish to allow the monks to remain faithful to their primary vocation of prayer and solitude within their community and thus to preserve the balance of life at the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse,” a spokesman for the company that distributes the liqueur said. And, in any case, she added, growth isn’t everything: “Maintaining production at its current level also means refusing the race for infinite growth and favoring the future,” she said. “It also means keeping a business activity on a human scale.”

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