Cohiba Robusto - Equipo Navazos ‘La Bota de Ron, Number 65’

Well, as they say in the classics, talk about a weekend to rip the Funk out of your Wagnall’s. 

Sport does tend to get in the way of deadlines, but I had planned a good cigar and rum to watch the Broncs in their big semi-final against the Eels. 

Elsewhere, the fifth Ashes test (the Ashes is the contest between Australia and England for cricket played every couple of years alternating between countries and usually over five five-day tests, and therefore represents world supremacy – it was so named as when we beat them for the first time back in the 1880’s, someone allegedly burnt the bails and put the ashes in a small urn, which is now the trophy); the Lions in their first AFL prelim final for 15 years; the Gunners v Watford (surely…?) and then the Skins against the Girls tomorrow morning. A good chance that it all might go terribly pear-shaped…

Partagas Serie E No. 2 - Chalmers Appassimento 2017 - Yamazaki 12-Year-Old

Rob kindly dropped off a small bag of mixed smokes for Kenfessions last week. Unfortunately, he’d picked up the wrong bag, so I have a mix of seconds – whose, we have no idea. We decided to give it a go, even though some are unbanded and we have no idea what they are.

This one, the Partagas Serie E No. 2, we could tell. It did have a split wrapper near the foot but in the end, this seemed to have little effect. It smoked very well, kicking off with an immediate and lovely note of cream and toffee. Some spices and then it moved to more earthy and eventually slightly mushroomy notes. Finally, a hint of caramel. So certainly a cigar with plenty of evolution throughout. Good complexity. Very pleasing soft smoke. There were also some notes of espresso in the latter parts though at times, this verged on a slightly stale coffee character, which was not positive. But overall, the flavours are very appealing…

Ramon Allones Regional Release ‘La Palmira’ Arab Emirates 2016 - Blanton’s Single Barrel Special Reserve Bourbon - Rymill ‘June Traminer (Botrytis Gewurztraminer) 2013 (half).

As I have mentioned elsewhere, Rob recently very kindly supplied some options for Kenfessions. There are cigars I might not have seen for a while, or possibly might not have access to. The drinks, however, remain my own and any failings there are purely my responsibility. With that in mind, I have been trying to include at least one left-field choice at the very least.

But, as usual, cigar first. The Ramon Allones Regional Release ‘La Palmira’ Arab Emirates 2016 is certainly a cigar I never expected to encounter. I am becoming more and more intrigued by Regional Releases. So many. Are they worthwhile? Mixed? A waste of time and tobacco? Stay tuned…

Cohiba Siglo VI - Barale Fratelli ‘Barolo Chinato’ - Fortaleza Agave ‘Still Strength 46’ Tequila

Whilst I remain convinced that humanity is rapidly sowing the seeds of its own demise, and hard to think that does not make us the dumbest species to have ever existed on this fragile planet, occasionally we do something remarkable. Imagine coming up with the idea of taking the heart of a large spiky succulent, pollinated by bats, and processing it into one of the most loved spirits found anywhere. The plant is, of course, the blue agave and the spirit is tequila.

But then, while we are thinking outside the box, imagine an entire industry based on taking leaves from some dodgy old plant, drying and then fermenting them, rolling them up into little tubes and then setting fire to them, but only after the end user has paid a bucketload of dosh for the pleasure…

Por Larranaga Belicosos Extra Regional Release Asia Pacific 2008 (EMA JUL08) - Angostura No 1 Cask Collection ex-Bourbon Cask Rum

I am embarrassed to say that this is now the fourth time I have paired the Por Larranaga Belicosos Extra RR Asia Pacific 2008 (EMA JUL08, from Box 19 of 7,400, which is not quite as good as Mini-Smithy shipping off Rob’s prized box, numbered 1 of 5000 of some RR or LE or other – never gets old), for Kenfessions. They have proved slightly variable, with the most recent, prior to here, the superstar of the bunch. The bottom line, if we may elevate it, is that this one was close but a slightly lesser cigar, with apologies to the old American fairgrounds where the phrase originated – for those who failed to win a prize…

La Gloria Cubana Regional Release Spain Serie D No.5 - Teeling 24-Year-Old Single Malt

This, the La Gloria Cubana Regional Release Spain 2017 Serie D No.5, was one of the more curious cigars I've had for a while, with parts I loved and parts I most certainly did not. The drink for matching, on the hand, there is no ambiguity about it. An utterly stunning malt. A brilliant Irish whiskey. 

The cigar first. I do like a number of the La Gloria Cubana cigars from over the years. But I am not at all fond of short, fat cigars, whoever makes them. They do little for me. People say that they are useful if you are rushed for time. If I am rushed for time, I am not going to be bothering with attempting to shoehorn a cigar into that time. Apparently, and not for the first time, I am not in the majority on this…

Ramon Allones RR Estupendos Asia Pacific 2006 release – Colosia Amontillado - Oakridge Meunier Rose 2016

Is there a more popular cigar for Regional Releases than Ramon Allones? There are bucketloads of them. Why is that? Is it because the brand is not considered good enough for regular Limited Edition releases, so they make do with Regionals? And if so, does that mean that Havana ranks Regionals below Limited Editions? Who knows? 

I'd go so far as to venture that no other brand is used as often for Regionals as RA, which I suspect few would have guessed when the program started. Of course, I could sit down and go through and count the split between brands and find out just which of them is most used, but we all know I am not going to do that. And these days, when the idea of fact-checking for articles has become a farce, why bother? It is now in print, so it must be true…

Trinidad ‘La Trova’ - Wild Turkey ‘Master’s Keep’ ‘1894’

A little while since I tried one of these gorgeous cigars. Last time, with a cracking Yamazaki 12-Year-Old. This time, a terrific Bourbon, but we’ll get to that. 

The cigar, the Trinidad ‘La Trova’, is from a box coded RAG AGO 17. The first 2/3rds of the smoke were utterly glorious, though the last third, certainly not in any way a lesser smoke, was simply exhibiting signs suggesting it was too young. I'd hang off these for another year or two, if possible, but if not, you’ll still have a brilliant experience. And showing the requisite patience will not be an easy task…

Partagas Lusitania (LOM Oct 13) – Ron Edmund Dantes 25-Year-Old

We have seen both of these before, though not as a match. 

The pairing came about as after the first glorious Origin, in some stupid blind fit of allegiance and confidence to the soon to be put-to-the-slaughter Maroons, I thought I should do my bit. And as every sports fan knows, superstition is incredibly important. Whether a red hanky in the pocket, refusing to allow anyone to leave their seats during an important innings (awkward if the innings takes several hours and one has had a few drinks), putting your left pad on before your right or having the same cigar as you had last time the team won, it all matters…

Partagas Lusitania (LOM Oct 13) – Glenfarclas 40-Year-Old Malt Whisky - Sullivan's Cove Double Cask XO Brandy

Time of writing, we are nearing the third State of Origin game, which will most likely see the glorious Queensland Maroons lose only their third series in the last 749 years. I thought we’d go down 3-0 but against all odds, we were magic in that first game and got home. I had decided that, as it was likely to be a miserable evening with the footy, I should smoke and drink well.

I went back to that gorgeous box of Partagas Lusitanias from 2013 and decided to go old malt – and in keeping with the double act, the Double Cask XO Brandy from Sullivans Cove…

Ramon Allones ‘Old’ – Michter’s Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey

Rob posted a thread recently about one of his mates who likes to smoke half-finished cigars the next day or even later (and no, it is not me and I have no idea who it is). Last night, I felt a bit like a small cigar (very rare) and as I am on a bit of a bourbon kick, I was cracking the Michter’s Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey, I thought something caramelly. What better than an aged PLPC?

But then I remembered that away in the back of the humidor (in several bags for protection – not so much of it but of the rest of the humidor), was a cigar I had started but not finished…

Partagas LE ‘Privada’ 2014 - Yamazaki Single Malt 12 Years; Archie Rose Rum

Set myself up for a terrific evening with a big football game (fans in Australia will be well aware of the coaching swap between Souths and the Broncs in the NRL and the acrimony that went with it, so a real grudge match), a cracking cigar and a couple of sensational drinks. Well, the Broncs crapped the proverbial bed and the footy was a nightmare so forget that.

The cigar, the Partagas LE ‘Privada’ 2014, was a one-off in the humidor. It was a leftover from when Rob and I did them for a video (checked it out – RG3 was still playing for the Skins, so another lifetime)…

Por Larranaga RR Belicosos Asia Pacific 2008/Lagavulin 8-Year-Old, 12-Year-Old, 16-Year-Old.

Well, this is awkward. Apparently, this is the third time I have looked at the Por Larranaga RR ‘Asia Pacific’ Belicosos 2008 for Kenfessions. I had not realised that when I sat down with it the other evening. At least, the drinks have been different, so I should be getting it right soon. As the famous Ron Swanson says, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing”. I think we can safely say that the PL RR Belicosos have been thoroughly whole-assed. Now might be a good time, again in the words of Ron, for me “to put some alcohol in my mouth to stop words coming out of it”…

Cohiba Genios Maduro 5 2007/Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt Wine Wood Reserve; Chichibu Ichiro’s Malt MWR

Some members may recall that I put up a thread about the Chichibu whiskies from Japan a little while ago, as I knew the proverbial bugger all about them. Thanks to those who responded – it was hugely appreciated. I had picked up a few bottles through a local importer, partly because the tiny bit I could find about them was very positive, partly because stocks of Japanese whisky are in dire short supply and it is a bit of the case of grab whatever is going if you want any, but mainly because in Dave Broom’s excellent book, ‘The Way of Whisky’, a fascinating and informative personal journey around the islands of that country, visiting the distilleries and sampling the whiskies, he is obviously utterly wowed by distiller Ichiro Akuto and his whiskies…

Quai d’Orsay Imperiale/Lighthouse Gin; Monteith’s Apple Cider

A Quai d’Orsay type of weekend, not originally intended but very much enjoyed, and a nod to our New Zealand brethren, after the recent tragedy, but before we get to all that, may I just say, why, Habanos, why? And boo, hiss. 

I would like to say that I had never tried this cigar before, but after the debacle with the QdO Corona, who knows. I certainly do not recall it. Rob kindly left one with me for Kenfessions and to have a squizz at it…