Industry Legends: Meet Max Helm

What’s your job title?

Hello, Brand Manager Hennessy (UK).

How long have you been working at LVMH?

I started out on Ruinart Champagne in the summer of 06 which at the time was a separate company under the same Moet Hennessy umbrella. I then moved onto the bars role looking after all the brands and then from sales to marketing with the Hennessy job. Before then I was at Majestic Wine for almost 4 years.

What’s the best part of your job?

This answer might sound a little cliché, but 1. The people. I've met all sorts and without a shadow of a doubt that's what has provided amazing memories and friendships along the way. 2. The bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels I've looked after and hung out in, it's been so cool and I'm very lucky. 3. The brands at MH, they kind of sell themselves and it's easy to take them for granted. They all have an amazing heritage plus the quality has always been there (in my mind).

What are your three favourite bars in London (or international) and why?

Now this is a hard one, it's a bit like what's your favourite film or drink, hang on that might be a question later… ummm… I just don't know what to say, I love them all. If I really think about it my favourite places are very much attached to great memories, god I'm feeling really nostalgic! On nights out I would always plan a route with a number of stop offs. I would never end up in just one place but potentially 5 to 10.
Maybe I should say Le Curtayn in Reims Champagne. I've spent many a night hosting people there over the years. I've accumulated some pretty incriminating footage of people attempting the French karaoke, they know who they are! Unfortunately it's a bit like the 4th protocol, they have footage of me too! Not so clever.

Tell us something that people don’t know about Hennessy?

It's Hennessy's 250th anniversary next year, and The Hennessy Gold Cup is the longest standing sponsorship of its kind in the world, it is the 58th anniversary this year.

What’s your favourite way to drink it?

At the moment I'm really enjoying Hennessy Fine de Cognac in a Sazerac. We've just had a refined version of the Fine de Cognac come out and it works great. Otherwise I'm loving Hennessy X.O on the rocks. It's not something I used to do but at Chateau de Bagnolet they offer it this way and I think it does something different to the drink which I enjoy.

What’s the highlight of your working year?

Probably going out to Cognac, I love it out there, it's my favourite place to visit in our portfolio and I've done all of them except a couple of the wines. I'd also say The Hennessy Gold Cup which is the last Saturday in November. It's by far the biggest event in my calendar and a beast of a thing to prepare for. It's a very satisfying feeling being there on the day after all the hard work put in. People call it the go to event of the winter calendar, it really is a great day out.

What’s your favourite place in the world?

The village in France where my mother grew up (she's French). I'm totally at peace there.

If you had a super power, what would it be?

Flying, but I would want a lightsaber too, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of lightsabers.

If you could have a drink with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

I think it would have to be in the presence of someone from a by-gone era, a game changer, a once in a lifetime experience, imagine Nelson, that would be amazing. Hennessy was around at that time, maybe not quite what it is now but I would have a bottle with him.

Who would play you in a movie?

I don't know but embarrassingly I saw The Shining for the first time only the other week. Jack Nicholson is so cool, I like him a lot.

What would be your desert island bottle?

Forget about a bottle, I'd request one of the 19th Century Hennessy Eau de Vie barrels from the cellars, I know which one as well. That would make me happy. Then when I'm 3/4 of the way through it I would climb a tree and look out for a passing ship, if not oh well, I'd just drink the rest of the barrel and hope for the best.

Tell us something amazing about the drinks industry.

The UK is the best in the world!

If you had to make BarChick a cocktail what would it be?

If it was summer I'd make you one of my home made Pimm’s, an old family recipe you know. For the colder months a late morning Hennessy Hot Toddie, they are very tasty and a good way to start the day.