La Fée flew East for the Moscow Bar Show to establish trading relations for 2013 – much was learned of the new importation and distribution system recently put in place. We bumped into Salvatore Calabrese (The Maestro of London’s Playboy Club) and Peter Dorelli (of Savoy fame) on our outbound flight

Congratulations to Andy Bishop and Jonathan Collins for organising such a professional bar show:  we enjoyed the entrepreneurial environment and spirit alongside others teams from Chase Distillery, Babicka Vodka, Fee Brothers and many more. Moscow proved an amazing city, with the locals being friendly, reminding me of the three years I lived in Prague in the early 1990s – post Velvet Revolution and pre absinthe.

La Fée Blanche with Moscow at night

Oscar Dodd with russian barmen in Moscow
La Fée Blanche overlooks Red Square

No shortage of excitement as the Russian bartending community got a taste for La Fée We had a small mix-up, staying in a different Radisson Blu Hotel than was recommended, ours turned out to be a sister hotel in the trendy media district of Moscow. On arrival we checked in and headed for the bar only to find Vinnie Jones winding down after a days filming! Oscar and I shared with him a few tales and a glass or two into the early hours at the bar. Mr. Jones was filming with his crew and producing a documentary for National Geographic which included getting close to wild bears and training as a Russian bodyguard.

George Rowley with Vinnie Jones
Mr Jones & Mr Rowley

Several events were hosted:  Diageo’s Reserve Brands at the Maxim bar and Gruppo Campari at the Time Out Bar (being the top two floors of the Pekin Hotel) were two highlights, as was the chance to catch up with industry stalwarts like Jeff “Tiki” Berry and the living legend that is Joe Fee of Fee Brothers bitters.

George Rowley & Oscar Dodd in Moscow


Metro in Moscow
Oscar & George after a hard week!

A word of advice:  Take the train from the airport – we dodged a fair few vehicle shunts in our ‘taxi!’ on the way in: the road system is Manhattanesque; with no roundabouts or flyovers, just cross junctions slowing the flow with Trabants and Skodas jostling alongside brand new Mercedes and BMWs, hurtling toward disappearing gaps in traffic.  The Moscow Metro is WOW! Though take a map that includes English translations for each station!

Red Square and the Kremlin were well worth a visit, especially with the “Circle of Light” festival projecting stunning images and laser shows across the grand architecture. We look forward to an excuses to visit again soon, the bartenders were fascinated with La Fée Parisienne and Blanche Absinthe and their different profiles and history – Oscar kept the “Blanche Refresher” cocktails flowing – which I kept calling a ‘blonde refresher’!

Oscar Dodd shaking a La Fée cocktail
Oscar keeps the drinks flowing…

So we finished September having taken La Fée to Paris (Whisky Live), London (Boutique Bar Show) and Moscow (MBS) continuing our program of global absinthe training and education. October will see us visiting Glasgow for the final Boutique Bar Show of the year, followed by a trip to Cannes for the TWDF (Tax Free World Association) event – one of my favourite places for a late breakfast served at a beach restaurant.

George Rowley with bottle of La Fée Blanche outside Bolshoi
Blanche at the Bolshoi

The big drinks event for London this October is the huge re-design and upgrade of Vinopolis, with the press and corporate opening this Friday. I was consulted on the new boutique spirits lounge and am pleased to announce La Fée are a big part of this space; covering absinthe history, the revival and general education with samples continually on offer for tasting throughout each week of the year.

George Rowley

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