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…

Nudies No 1 Lonsdales/Last Drop 1971 Blended Scotch Whisky (and possibly some Flor de Cana 25-Year-Old Rum)

Couple of interesting things touched down at the swamp recently. I had been talking to the people behind a rare spirits company and they were going to flick through a sample for review. And Rob left me with a mystery cigar. No clues at all. 

The whisky sample turned up and it was, wait for it, a 10ml thimble. I thought how on earth does one get to taste anything from such a minute sample? I found out later that a full 700ml bottle comes in at around £4,000, so suddenly 10mls is looking very generous. And it was such a stand out, no issue at all…

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…