Whisky on the Côte D’Azur

written by Guest Angel

Last month we sent two of our most experienced mixologists off to Cannes to work with Edrington at the Tax Free World Association Exhibition. Our exclusive team showcased brands such as; The Macallan, Highland Park, The Famous Grouse, Brugal, Cutty Sark, Snow Leopard, Bols, Galliano and The Glenrothes. This prestigious event is so important for these brands that it is vital our Angels could not only mix the perfect cocktail but talk knowledgeably about the brands they were representing.

One of the team, Max, recounts his experience at the event:

HEL’S ANGELS: Hi Max how’d you fancy heading to sunny Cannes for a week to be the shiny best you can be? You’ll be working for a hugely important client for us – Edrington (the parent company of great brands such as The Macallan, Highland Park & Famous Grouse whiskies).

ME: Absolutely, yes.

HEL’S ANGELS: Well hang on, we haven’t told you when it is yet.

ME: So?

I’d be willing to bet that to just about anybody – even in the unbelievably diverse world of events – opportunities like these don’t come around all that often. But for me, a man who not only holds whisky & the south of France quite dearly to his heart (who doesn’t?), but also someone who does a lot of his events work in that field, this was one of ‘life certainties’.

Every year the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) gather in the Côte D’Azur’s most fashionable town to meet for the world’s largest duty free and travel retail global summit. The summit takes place in the famous Palais des Festivals (same ‘gaff’ as the Cannes Film Festival, seeing as you asked). With absolutely anybody (Chanel, Nestle, Moroccan Oil etc…) who sells anything (Skirts, chocolate, Moroccan Oil etc…) through the travel retail market there to meet acquaintances old and new.

Mine and my fellow Angel Deborah’s role was simple but vital. We would be the welcoming face of Edrington to everyone who was invited to the stand. We would make them coffee in the morning, then as the day wore on, we would switch to mixing up exciting cocktails designed to showcase Edrington’s key products and brands.

On two special evenings we were asked to help host parties at the stand. I mention this because one such occasion afforded us the opportunity to get close to something rather special – “The Macallan M“. A signature whisky that had once yielded the highest ever return for a bottle of whisky sold at auction. Deborah and I were charged with presenting and pouring the fabled liquor to an unsurprisingly excitable crowd, and I don’t mind admitting that I’ve never concentrated quite so hard while slinging drinks before. My nerves shredded, it seemed that years of bartending had somehow led to this epic moment.

So it’s with no small amount of personal satisfaction that I can relay to you not a single drop was spilled.


Although our trip sounds rather lavish by its nature, it’s perhaps worth mentioning that for all the glitz and glamour, it wasn’t the high end brands or the utterly opulent products that made our week in Cannes such a blast. No, what made it truly fantastic were the people we got to work with. They were a fun, warm and welcoming crowd that seemed as happy to have us around as were to be there.

Should I be asked to go again next year, I don’t doubt you’ll already know my answer.