It’s been years and this never left my head. The line is from a scene with a judge for a far-future transhumanist syndicate based on the teachings of Confucius.
The House of the Venerable and Inscrutable Colonel was what they called it when they were speaking Chinese. Venerable because of his goatee, white as the dogwood blossom, a badge of unimpeachable credibility in Confucian eyes. Inscrutable because he had gone to his grave without divulging the Secret of the Eleven Herbs and Spices. p. 92