In 1998, George Rowley discovered absinthe while living in the Czech Republic. At the time, absinthe was a near forgotten relic and was only available in a few Bohemian bars.
Inspired by his experience, George and his company Bohemia Beer House Ltd (now BBH Spirits) took on the task of setting the legal precedent for absinthe, opening the international absinthe market today.
After soon discovering the UK never imposed a ban on absinthe, working alongside Trading Standards, George was able to secure permission to import due to the creation of a document called EU Council Directive 88/388/EEC. Creating this watershed document set the legal precedent for all future absinthe in Europe and the international market which now includes the US.
George Rowley held his UK launch in London on November 1998, the product being a modern Czech absinth, absinthe spelled without the ‘e’, and introducing to the market the now popular modern “sugar and burn” ritual.
In May 1999, the campaign to source a genuine preban absinthe and restart distilling in France began when George contacted Marie-Claude Delahaye, world-renowned expert and historian on the category.
While reviewing the terms of the 1915 French ban, it was discovered that the French had prohibited the selling of absinthe in France, but not the distillation of it.
This would signal the rebirth of traditional French absinthe, distilled with Grand Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). All this pioneering work was carried out by George and Marie-Claude at the Paris distillery, leading up to the introduction of the first traditionally distilled absinthe in France, La Fée Absinthe Parisienne.
After a year of investigation, research and development, the very first order of La Fée Absinthe Parisienne was placed on May 1, 2000.
The iconic eye motif has made La Fée the benchmark brand within the surging absinthe category.