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…

Quai d’Orsay Corona/Hine Antique XO Cognac; Asahi Super Dry Beer

I would love to be able to share with you my endless knowledge of the Quai d’Orsay cigars and in particular this neat little corona from November 2011, but there is a problem. I know the proverbial bugger all about this line. By coincidence, I was chatting with Rob a week or two ago and he kindly gave me a Quai d’Orsay Imperial, which I understand has been discontinued, to have a look at. I could not think of another occasion when I had tried one. 

Then this popped up for Kenfessions. Now, as I said, I could not honestly remember ever having smoked one before so I thought I had better jump on the internet and see what I could find out…

H. Upmann Sir Winston Churchill/Flor de Cana ‘Spresso’; Sullivans Cove Single Cask XO Brandy

I’m not one for spiced rums, although I quite like the Stolen Spiced Rum for its enticing smoky characters, and a note that is almost peaty, but I just love the new offering from Flor de Cana, their Spresso. In fairness, it is much more of a rum/coffee liqueur than a spiced rum, but what’s in a name. We are not likely to be including Spresso in any discussion of the great rums, even great liqueurs of the world. But it is seriously delicious and very moreish…

Cohiba Siglo VI Gran Reserva/Causes & Cures Semi-Dry White Vermouth; Glenfarclas 1971

Onward with the two drinks/one cigar experiment. And hard to think of two more completely different drinks.

But first, the cigar. And what a cigar. If ever there was a ‘last request on death row’ cigar, this is it. Should I find myself thinking of giving a cigar 100 points, sadly an all-too-rare occurrence, I do try and think if it could be improved in any way, is there the tiniest flaw, any reason at all not to give 100? This time, no. All as near perfect as one could wish. I’ve read on various sites where some have described this as the greatest cigar they have ever tried. Fully understand, as it is breathtaking…

Cohiba Siglo IV (July 2011)/Foursquare ‘Premise’ Rum; Foursquare ‘Dominus’ Rum

The two drinks for every cigar idea hit a bit of a speedbump this last time. I’ve been at a place on the coast for a while – Queensland summer – and while I brought a number of cigars, I seem to have failed to bring enough different drinks. I do have some fabulous Margaret River Cabernets, but as Rob isn’t here insisting on red wine with cigars, I won’t insult either the cigar or the wine by matching them. 

I searched the dregs of the old man’s liquor shelf – remembering that this was a man who didn’t drink so everything was largely leftovers from dinner parties or gifts from clients…

Flor de Cano Regional Release Asia Pacific Grandioso (July 2013)/Stone Pine Black Truffle Gin/Delamain ‘Vesper’ Cognac

Two very different spirits this time, to go with a lovely cigar.

The Flor de Cano Regional Release Asia Pacific Grandioso, from July 2013, is a most worthwhile member of the regional releases, up with the best. That said, and I am pretty sure that Rob and I did them for a vid when they first came out, it is not one I see often. Assume that production was not dissimilar to usual (a little research reveals that production was up with the top releases – 5,000 boxes of ten)? They just do not ever seem to pop up on the radar. If anyone has any thoughts on why that might be, please let me know. Did they get a bad rap early? Or was it so highly regarded that they just disappeared into the vaults, never to be spoken of again? Sadly, none disappeared into my vault…

Partagas 8-9-8/Asahi Super Dry Beer; Grand Marnier

We continue the double drinks experiment. This time, I went with two utterly different drinks to see what we’d come up with.

But first, the cigar. A Partagas 8-9-8 of undetermined age, though after smoking it, I think it had a number of years under the belt, but not ancient by any means. The first time I have tried one of these in quite a few years – yes, so many cigars and so little time to smoke them all. Immediate impression is that this is all old school. A nice thin (ish) ring gauge – 43 – and Lonsdale sized. So thumbs up from the kickoff. The flavours are instantly powerful, take-no-prisoners stuff. I think Rob and I did a vid of these some 6-8 years ago. No idea what we thought. I’m going to go out on a limb and say I suspect we enjoyed it…

Cohiba Esplendido (May 2014)/Glenmorangie ‘Quinta Ruban’ 12-Year-Old Malt Whisky; mystery port.

Been thinking about this matching concept. I have a feeling that when one has a decent cigar and a decent drink, there is a subconscious tendency to think, all is well and that they work. Now, I am more than happy to smoke/drink whatever if I am enjoying them, but I wonder if, as far as combinations go, this is falling into the easy trap. So on occasion, I’m going to try a couple of different drinks to go with a cigar and see if one works better than the other. I think that, in order not to confuse the palate too much, it has to be one after the other rather than back and forth. We’ll see…

Hoyo de Monterrey ‘Le Hoyo des Dieux’ (2011)/Suntory Whisky Hibiki ‘Japanese Harmony’ ‘Masters Select’ Whisky

For Kenfessions this time, it was a dip into the bag of mixed singles. Was not looking for anything too extreme, too large. Just a pleasant evening smoke. In the end, we exceeded that in spades! 

So, a des Dieux was perfect – the Hoyo de Monterrey ‘Le Hoyo des Dieux’. From 2011. I think I have a few older boxes (00, 03, 08? although a little inner voice is saying, no, you’ve smoked the lot – hope not and need to check. An even smaller voice says I had a cabinet of these from ?, in the days of unbanded cigars, but I note that cabs of these were discontinued in 06?? That would be a pleasant find)…

Zenith Cohiba/Woodford Reserve Bourbon

Always been a big fan of the Woodford Reserve Bourbon and never really understood why it does not get more love around the traps. No matter. It is probably my go-to bourbon, partly to do with the fact that it has been readily available here for some time. 

I have mentioned in the past, for reasons I do not completely follow, I received a sample bottle of Batch 1, when it was first released (at the time, I was doing very little with spirits). And I will confess that though I’ve enjoyed bottles from a number of batches since then, that was something special – I have a theory that…