Whisky Live Paris. Whirlwind.
Imagine over 120 exhibitors coming from all over the world - from Chili, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Russia, America - and congregating in Paris for one weekend. Well, three days. Imagine the madness that ensues.
That's without even taking into consideration that we are, as our choice of career would suggest, rather fond of eating and drinking. And we're not very good with the concept of moderation either. A successful soirée doesn't end until the dawn has broken and the métro has started again.
The highlight for me of this whole weekend will remain Saturday night at Aux Trois Mailletz.
We finish the Exhibitors' Dinner at the Atelier Maitre Albert restaurant (which was great, by the way!) and I find myself with the last group of exhibitors drinking the dregs from bottles of wine (Radikon, Emidio Pepe and Stefano Bellotti, naturally.) A great group of Italian, Scottish and American whisky-makers, as it happens. No need to mention names or drop links... they know who they are. ;)
The restaurant kindly gives us the boot and kicks us out into the Parisian drizzle. A plan needs to be formed.
"Just a beer or two" are the instructions I'm given.
Striding forth, leading the way with my Mary Poppins umbrella, we make our way to the Trois Mailletz.
It's a bar-restaurant with an albeit slightly clichéd, French kitsch atmosphere.
Founded by Léo Ferré in 1948, its illustrious history justifies the kitsch-i-ness and seemed a good place to take visitors for a pretty memorable experience, without being a complete tourist trap. They serve traditional cuisine, washed down with gallons of sub-par wine, beer or spirits. There's a piano in the middle of the room, and a cute girl singing. Clients are encouraged to join in, to dance and even to have a turn on the piano, if they're brave enough.
In the cellars downstairs, you'll find another bar, where in exchange for the 25€ cover charge, you'll get a full cabaret show. We had a peep (I'm not saying any more than that!) and it certainly seemed like fun!
I will skimp on the dirty details of the evening but the hoarseness of my voice the morning after rather indicates that I may have got a little carried away with the singing. The fact that I woke up humming "Hey Jude" is completely unrelated. And as for the blisters on my feet, I'm holding a certain Italian accountable.
You come for the Midnight-in-Paris atmosphere, the singing and the dancing and you don't leave before 5am.
Aux Trois Mailletz, 56 rue Galande, 75005