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Chartreuse vs. Absinthe: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 11, 2023
Chartreuse vs. Absinthe: "Chartreuse" is a French herbal liqueur or a shade of green, while "Absinthe" is a green anise-flavored spirit.

Key Differences

"Chartreuse" and "Absinthe" are both known as alcoholic beverages, but they differ in origin, composition, and history. Chartreuse is a French herbal liqueur made by Carthusian monks, while Absinthe is a highly alcoholic, anise-flavored spirit known for its storied past and vibrant green color.
In discussing their composition, "Chartreuse" is distilled with a blend of 130 herbs, plants, and flowers, giving it a unique taste. "Absinthe," on the other hand, is primarily flavored with anise, fennel, and wormwood and has faced bans in the past due to health concerns associated with one of its components, thujone.
"Chartreuse" also refers to a color, reminiscent of the hue of the liqueur itself—a pale apple-green shade. "Absinthe" is consistently associated with a vivid, almost neon green, often referred to as "the Green Fairy" because of its color and the myths surrounding its consumption.
When delving into their histories, "Chartreuse" boasts a recipe said to date back to 1605, guarded by monks. "Absinthe" is well-known for its popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially among artists and writers, and its controversial reputation.
Despite the differences between "Chartreuse" and "Absinthe," both spirits hold unique places in the world of alcoholic beverages, each with its own set of aficionados and unique cultural references.

Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

A French herbal liqueur or a pale apple-green color.
A green anise-flavored spirit.


Made from 130 herbs, plants, and flowers.
Flavored with anise, fennel, and wormwood.


France, made by Carthusian monks.
Originated in Switzerland, popularized in France.

Historical Context

Recipe dating back to 1605, closely guarded by monks.
Popular in the late 19th century, associated with bohemian culture.

Cultural Reference

Often related to its unique taste and monastic heritage.
Known as "the Green Fairy" and linked to many myths and legends.

Chartreuse and Absinthe Definitions


A spirit with a recipe said to date back to 1605.
The monks have kept the Chartreuse recipe secret for centuries.


A spirit with a rich history and myriad myths surrounding its consumption.
Absinthe parties became infamous for their supposed hallucinogenic effects.


A French herbal liqueur made by Carthusian monks.
He ordered a glass of Chartreuse after dinner.


A drink often referred to as "the Green Fairy."
He was curious about the tales of the Green Fairy associated with Absinthe.


A shade of pale apple-green.
The walls of the room were painted a calming Chartreuse.


A spirit that underwent a revival in the late 20th century.
Modern Absinthe is produced with regulated thujone levels.


An alcoholic beverage known for its distinct green hue.
She was intrigued by the vibrant color of the Chartreuse in her glass.


A highly alcoholic spirit flavored with anise, fennel, and wormwood.
Absinthe was once banned in many countries because of health concerns.


A liqueur composed of 130 different herbs, plants, and flowers.
The unique taste of Chartreuse is due to its complex blend of ingredients.


An iconic beverage associated with bohemian culture in the 19th century.
Many artists and writers in Paris had a penchant for Absinthe.


A strong to brilliant greenish yellow to moderate or strong yellow green.


A perennial aromatic Eurasian herb (Artemisia absinthium) in the composite family, naturalized in North America and having pinnatifid, silvery, silky leaves and numerous nodding flower heads. Also called wormwood.


A yellow or green liqueur made by Carthusian monks.


A green liquor having a bitter anise or licorice flavor and a high alcohol content, prepared from absinthe and other herbs, prohibited in many countries when containing thujone because of its alleged toxicity.


(color) A greenish-yellow color.


The herb absinthium Artemisia absinthium (grande wormwood); essence of wormwood.


(arts) A kind of enamelled pottery.


(figurative) Bitterness; sorrow.


(cooking) A French dish of vegetables (and sometimes meat) wrapped tightly in a decorative layer of salad or vegetable leaves and cooked in a dome-shaped mould.


A distilled, highly alcoholic, anise-flavored liquor originally made from grande wormwood, anise, and other herbs.


Of a bright yellowish-green colour.


(color) A moderate yellow green. 88c641


A Carthusian monastery; esp. La Grande Chartreuse, mother house of the order, in the mountains near Grenoble, France.


(US) Sagebrush.


An alcoholic cordial, distilled from aromatic herbs; - made at La Grande Chartreuse.


Aromatic herb of temperate Eurasia and North Africa having a bitter taste used in making the liqueur absinthe


Aromatic green or yellow liqueur flavored with orange peel and hyssop and peppermint; made at monastery near Grenoble, France


Strong green liqueur flavored with wormwood and anise


A shade of green tinged with yellow


Having the yellowish green color of Chartreuse liqueur


What are the primary flavors in Chartreuse?

Chartreuse has a complex herbal flavor derived from 130 different ingredients.

Is "Chartreuse" made by monks?

Yes, Chartreuse is crafted by Carthusian monks in France.

Why is "Absinthe" referred to as "The Green Fairy"?

Due to its vivid green color and the romanticized myths surrounding its effects.

Was Absinthe really hallucinogenic?

Absinthe's psychoactive properties have been exaggerated; its effects are mainly due to its high alcohol content.

Are there different types of Chartreuse?

Yes, there are primarily two types: Green Chartreuse and Yellow Chartreuse.

Why was Absinthe banned in many countries?

Concerns over thujone content and its potential effects led to bans, though these concerns were often exaggerated.

Can "Chartreuse" also denote a color?

Yes, it signifies a shade of green similar to the liqueur.

How is Absinthe traditionally consumed?

It's often diluted with water poured over a sugar cube.

Does "Chartreuse" have a higher alcohol content than other liqueurs?

Chartreuse is relatively high in alcohol, but the content varies between the green and yellow versions.

What gives Absinthe its green color?

The color comes from the chlorophyll of the herbs used during the distillation process.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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