Welcome to Kenfessions, my occasional and irregular blog, looking at the world of cigars and drinks, and hopefully matching the two. The good, the bad and the downright ugly. No doubt, it will veer off on all manner of tangents, but we will try and stick to the subject (when it suits).

- Ken Gargett

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

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.

Halliday was telling us about one of his friends who would come up to Brokenwood in the early days to help, although as he always brought a different blonde, the feeling was very much that he was helping himself, rather than helping the team.

Anyway, it was all a bit Heath Robinson in the early days and beds were scarce. If you dipped out, you slept in the shed. Our friendly Lothario and blonde missed out on one occasion and he was forced to retrieve the airbed from his car. Even more ignominiously, he and the blonde were forced to share a space alongside the other vineyard workers in the same room. Our friend moved to the far end of the room, but it was still only feet away from everyone else. Poor James was on his own mattress on the floor in the same room and reported that about thirty minutes in, when they were all desperate for sleep, the huffing and puffing began, for want of a better way of putting it. It only lasted about four to five minutes.

But still. Get a room? Whoops.

Everyone covered their ears and pretended to ignore it.

About thirty minutes later, off it went again – huffing and puffing for another 4-5 minutes. Ears covered, how about them Bears!

Thirty minutes later, and then thirty minutes later again. The man was a machine. This was Olympic stuff. Thirty minutes later…

Finally, after about the 8th occasion, realising that if he did not do something, he would get no sleep, James exploded. “What the hell is going on? You have to stop.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” came the reply. Lights were turned on.

“Where the hell is the blonde?” asks James.

“She left after dinner. Took my car back to Sydney.”

“Well, what the hell is all the noise?”

“The bloody airbed has a leak and I have to keep blowing it up”.

More next episode!

Back to the cigar and the drink.

The Behike-lite is a cracking Robusto that I picked up on a trip to Cuba from a friend who has access to those that do not make it into boxes. No names, but a most reliable source. And they have all been excellent. Not a dud amongst the lot. I am most grateful.

They are absolutely chockers full of cream. Right from the first puff. Florals and spices. Roast nuts, milk chocolate and a little black cherry. Good construction, as you’d expect. Given that I rarely get a chance to smoke the legit Behikes, I can’t honestly say how close they are to those that do make their way into boxes, but love to hear.

The drink is a fascinating one – the Penfold’s Vintage Fortified 2015 (A$80). Made from traditional Portuguese varieties and avoiding that ‘big sweet red’ style that so bedevilled Aussie vintage ports (now called ‘vintage fortifieds’, of course). Black cherries, leather, aniseed, lovely supple palate but a clean dry finish after gentle sweetness. Terrific length. A wine to age for many years – and as they have bottled it under screwcap, that might make a few people sit up and take notice. This is the first vintage port that Penfold’s have made in over thirty years.

A lot of people don’t realise that it was not until well into the 1970’s that Australia finally started to drink more table wine than fortified wine.

The sweetness, granted nowhere near the high level of sweetness that used to blight this style of wines, and the lovely black cherry notes, really worked with this cigar. It is a squillion times better than trying to match a cigar with a standard red, no matter how good it is. The tannins just dry everything out and make things seem harsh. This worked.

There is a couple of years on these Behike-lites and that is a factor in the combination working. A younger cigar might be a little more jarring. It would be interesting to have some thoughts on matching drinks with young/old cigars and does it make much of a difference in your opinion.


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

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

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

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