This section is from the book "Beverages And Their Adulteration Origin, Composition, Manufacture, Natural, Artificial, Fermented, Distilled, Alkaloidal And Fruit Juices", by Harvey W. Wiley. Also available from Amazon: Beverages And Their Adulteration.
The first distillations of Chartreuse were made by St. Bruno in 1084. In 1656 after the lapse of 6 centuries the profits were so great that the monks erected a million dollar monastery at Fourvoire. The maximum annual Fourvoire production reached the huge figures of 80 million liters. Twelve different kinds of herbs were used. When gathered they were dried in well aired cellars underneath the monastery and then macerated in water. It was this aqueous extract which mixed with alcohol and distilled gave the desired flavor to the product.