Por Larranaga Belicosos Extra RR Asia Pacific 2008/Flor de Cana 25-Year-Old Rum

Was talking to Rob about these cigars, as did the comparison for Kenfessions recently and loved it. I’ve not always had such luck. Rob was very positive on them, suggesting that they simply needed time. Well, a decade seems fair.

This isn’t the first time these smokes have featured in Kenfessions. Over a year ago, I matched one with a fave Kiwi beer, the Emerson’s Hefe-Weizenbier Dunkelweiss. The beer was great, the afternoon with a couple of wonderful books superb, but it was all rather let down by a very disappointing smoke. And looking back, my notes for this cigar, from this box – the Por Larranaga Belicosos Extra RR Asia Pacific 2008 (19/7400) (EMA Jul 08) – have widely varied. Had two from the box, when first opened, in March 2017…

Montecristo No 2/Gouden Carolus Tripel Beer

One does try and swap things about as much as we can for Kenfessions, so to feature the same smoke twice in a row is a little poor form (much like the form of the Aussie batsmen in the background as they desperately try and stave off two losses in a row to the might of King Kohli – and like him or not, that lad can bat). Rules are, however, made to be broken – just ask those Aussie cricketers. Anyway, yours is Monte 2’s, in succession. In fairness, this is such a popular smoke that why not? And when they are in form, as these have been, even more reason…

Montecristo No 2/Cubaney 21-Year-Old

Seems that the old Cuban/elsewhere thing is not just cigars and Bacardi. Whilst we have Cohiba’s and Montecristo’s from various places, as well as Cuba, I had not twigged that Cubaney Rum is also Dominican. I recall bottles from Cuba some years ago and I had a little sampler bottle of their 21-Year-Old in the drinks cupboard, from where I know not (as in, from where I got it, I know not, but I believe, even though one cannot tell from the small bottle with the blurred label, it to be from the Dominican Republic)…

Trinidad ‘La Trova’/Yamazaki 12-Year-Old

May I start this week by asking whether anyone knows, definitively, whether these Trini ‘La Trova’ are one-offs or if they are going to be regular production. I ask as I have heard both and no one seems to know for sure. As so often seems to happen with Cuba and Cuban cigars, confusion reigns. We do know that they were intended as a 2017 release, though it seems that few saw any before this year…

Louis Roederer Cristal 2008/Partagas D4 (Vintage Collection – 2004)

Doing what I do – call it a job or not (and for anyone at the ATO, it most certainly is) – one gets to see a wide range of wines. Some good, some less so and some occasionally spectacular. Sadly, not that many of the latter.

I had been keen to look at the latest release of Louis Roederer Cristal, the 2008, for ages (it has only just been released here but the pre-release hype for it has been more than I have ever seen for a champagne, at least since the 1996 Krug), but was under no illusion that given the demand, a sample was unlikely – I should add that the Roederer people are usually very good with samples…

Cohiba Robusto/Glenfarclas 21-Year-Old Highland Malt – Brokenwood Anniversaries Part 3.

Welcome to the third and final episode of the Brokenwood adventures. To be honest, this started as a small comment on a forthcoming wine visit – to Brokenwood for their 50th. That got me remembering the 40th and some of the fun. Parts 1 and 2 were stories we heard at the Fortieth. This is about arriving for the event, the trip from the airport to the winery. One would think that would be a fairly innocuous experience, but no…

I swear to you, I am not making this up…

Behike-lite/Penfold’s Vintage Port 2015 – Brokenwood Anniversaries Part 2.

We left off the Brokenwood adventures with people telling stories out of school. Why stop now. No doubt, there’ll be plenty more after the next anniversary event.

But before we go further, one of the other things I remember very well about the 40th Brokenwood event was the glorious 1986 Graveyard. For me, one of the best reds ever made in Australia. Top ten amongst some serious company. It is glorious. And going on and on. It sits with three famous Lindemans’ wines – the pair from 1965 and the 1959. It is that good. I can’t wait to see it again. Been in touch with Iain Riggs, the winemaker, and one of Australia’s best. Riggsy tells me he might have a magnum put aside. Whacko!

Back to stories out of school…

Hoyo de Monterrey ‘Epicure Especial’/Blanton’s Gold Edition Single Barrel Bourbon – Brokenwood Anniversaries Part 1

Time really does fly.

Just got an invite to the 50th anniversary of Brokenwood Graveyard’s Vineyard for early December. Anyone not familiar with that wine, or the winery – surely, the leading winery in the Hunter – is missing out badly, though these days the price of their Graveyard has followed other top wines, rocketing skyward. I would say it has had a meteoric rise but I don’t get that. Who has ever seen a meteor rise? Don’t they just plummet earthwards or zip past?

I say time flies as it seems no time at all since we were at the 40th. An event, I remember for a number of reasons, some of which will have to wait until the next episode of Kenfessions…

Romeo & Juliet Limited Edition Capuletos 2016/El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum

A bottle of Ata Rangi Pinot Noir is in serious peril.

Some days, you just feel trapped. Today, literally. It is freezing in my house at the moment. I type in fishing gloves as they have the fingertips cut off. Four layers and blankets. If I walk outside, it is at least ten degrees warmer but inside…

I get in and out of my house through a small channel between wine boxes and bottles in the garage. The garage is also warmer than the house in winter (seriously, the fridge is warmer than the house in winter) and there was I, sitting typing away (and if you can believe it, it has happened again in the short time I have done these two paras) when crash and bang. Bottles banging about and falling over. Cases tumbling…

Partagas Lusitania/Montecristo No 2 – El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum/Glenmorangie ‘The Quinta Ruban’ Port Cask Finish 12-Year-Old – general.

Today’s rant? Bloody Qantas. But in fairness to the stumbling wombat, it was only a dream. Apparently, I was supposed to be heading off to a tasting in the Mornington Peninsula, or New Zealand – it was never clear, but there were moments where I was literally dreaming of those amazing trout streams in the South Island. Instead, stuck in Newcastle. It was just like that Tom Hanks film about the bloke stuck for years in an airport. For reasons unknown, I could not get another flight to either place and nor could I get one home. No matter how much I tried, back and forth to every person I could find, and it was making me very angry…

Juan Lopez No 2/Delamain XO ‘Pale and Dry’

We all know that Greg has had it tough. Working for Whipcrack cannot be easy. But we are a forgiving lot. And anyway, the good news, for me, is that Greg missed a Kenfessions (slipped through the Kenfessional?) focusing on last year’s Origin, but, as all we good Queenslanders know, Origin comes around every year. so with a touch of tinkering, I already have a column all done! Well done, Greg…

Montecristo No.2/Navazos en Rama & Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No.2/Navazos P.X. Gran Solera

Yes, sherry again. A couple of completely different sherries today with two No 2’s.

I have already detailed the background of Equipo Navazos, such an exciting producer from Jerez, one of my favourite places (actually, I really prefer nearby Sanlucar, but everyone thinks in terms of Jerez).

So, their en Rama with a Montecristo No 2 and a glorious PX with the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2…

H. Upmann No 2/Holgate Mt Macedon Australian Pale Ale/Holgate Temptress Choc Porter

Thank you, the Australian government. What a bunch of loathsome, jelly-backed, contemptible, feeble-minded, desperate, dishonest, faint-hearted, doolally, floundering, cowardly, craven, snivelling, wannabee, lice-ridden buffoons. Both sides. They’d kill their first born if it meant a vote, or that someone would not frown at them. Truly extraordinary. Sadly, as this is a family site, I cannot tell you what I really think…

Ramon Allones Specially Selected/Sanchez Ayala ‘20 Anos’ ‘Galeon’ Oloroso Sherry

Been working my way through Greg’s selection for Kenfessions and will confess (kenfess?) that the first couple have not been stellar. The other evening, pulled out the Ramon Allones Specially Selected. I used to enjoy these but to be honest, I had not had one for ages. No idea why that happened – not deliberately. One of those things. Also, no idea why Greg chose this one, but way to go, Greg. Made me wonder why on earth this fell out of the rotation. It was a really terrific smoke.