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

Cohiba Medio Siglo/Laphroaig “The 1815 Legacy Edition”

Cohiba Medio Siglo/Laphroaig “The 1815 Legacy Edition”

The Kenfessions idea largely evolved from wanting to take a serious look at the matching of cigars and various drinks (and as a place Rob could quarantine my occasion rants about the world). Now, that is fine, but it has limitations. Namely, like the vast majority of us, I have a limited variation of cigars on hand to do these matches (I do have enough variants of drinks in all manner and form, though). So, unless we want a situation of a series of different drinks with a Mag 50, for example, something needed to be done.

Greg very kindly came up with a small pack of different cigars – Houses, sizes, shapes. So, over the next few weeks, we’ll give them a try. And I wanted things that I might not select myself (apparently, 25 Behikes was not considered a suitable option). So of course, Greg’s first choice was the shortest, stumpiest cigar he could find. In fairness, I did ask for it and there are some really good selections as well.

Saturday evening, long week and a family birthday lunch – it felt like a cigar evening but, to be honest, normally I probably would have skipped it as all too much trouble. Then I thought, what about that stumpy thing? Perfect.

So, I fired up the Cohiba Medio Siglo and, given the discussion on the forum, went for a really good Islay malt, the Laphroaig ‘1815 Legacy’. This was a one-off release from the current distiller to honour his predecessors, from “first-fill, over-charred ex-bourbon barrels, before further maturing in large, new European oak hogsheads”. It is a really good Islay.

Next day, I checked the forum for any thoughts on this cigar and was surprised to find that Rob and I had reviewed it very recently – clearly I force unpleasant memories out of my mind, but when I rewatched it (http://www.friendsofhabanos.com/forum/blogs/entry/66-review-cohiba-medio-siglo/), I was surprised at how positive I had been (not about the size – I still hate that).

I confess, it feels like one is in a mob movie and has just opened the suspicious package to find the kidnap victim’s thumb. But I persevered. The cigar kicked off with those delicious caramel notes that we found during the review. Some cream and honey as well. This was looking wonderfully promising. Perhaps I need to recalibrate my thoughts on the stumpies. Meanwhile, simply removing the cork from the whisky filled the room with that glorious peaty note. There were some orange rind notes and hazelnuts, together with a touch of caramel. So, all up, this was proving an inspired match.

Pride cometh… or something like that. The whisky never faltered, but sadly, the same could not be said of the cigar. It had not gone very far (I will say, it certainly did take quite a while to smoke, as per those in the review) when those flavours completely disappeared. The rest of it was a bit earthy but largely a slight dirty, grubby note and endless lighting and draw problems. In other words, an utterly awful cigar. I could still taste that grubbiness well into the next day. not pleasant at all. This was not so much to do with size, but simply a really poor cigar. And such a shame as it started so well and was a terrific match. Needless to say, little point in trying to match anything with a dud cigar.

To think that these are priced higher than Coro’s??? Insanity. I would also add that, and yes, I know that being a handmade product there can be the occasional epic fail, a cigar as poor as this one has no right to appear under a Cohiba band. One expects so much better. If I am new to cigars and splurge on a cigar like this, I’d toss it in and take up bowls. Such a disappointment. In fairness, worth mentioning that the ones Rob and I reviewed were much better than this, and this might simply have been a one-off dud, but even if it were a size that appealed, I would not personally risk buying them. But I can see from the forum that such a view is far from unanimous.

Fortunately, not even this disaster could ruin the movie, ‘Tootsie’. I know it gets lumped in with those ‘80s romcom flicks, but I think it is so much more – I suppose the fact that it garnered a bucketload of Oscar nominations suggests I was not the only one. Terrific cast and it really is a very funny movie. Kept me giggling throughout. It must have been 30 years since I saw it, but I have long held some thoughts about this flick.

I know Dustin Hoffman (are we allowed to even mention him these days, let alone watch his movies?) has some extraordinary performances under his belt – Oscars for ‘Rainman’ and ‘Kramer v Kramer’, plus a heap of other nominations. Films like ‘The Graduate’, Papillon’, ‘All the President’s Men’. ‘Midnight Cowboy’. ‘Straw Dogs’, ‘Marathon Man’ and more. But I firmly believe that his greatest performance is ‘Tootsie’. Truly astonishing what he did in that flick.

Now, I know he did not get the gong for the Oscar that year, but he was never going to manage that. He, and the flick, were up against one of the most ‘made for an Oscar’ films/performances of all time – ‘Gandhi’. Sure, Ben Kingsley was excellent, but I would argue that Hoffman’s performance was a mile ahead. Daylight second. If you doubt me, watch the pic with this in mind. Hoffman was robbed. An outrage.

Anyone have any other nominations for actors or pics that were robbed at the big show?


Hoyo de Monterrey ‘Le Hoyo de San Juan’/Blanton’s Gold Edition Single Barrel Bourbon

Hoyo de Monterrey ‘Le Hoyo de San Juan’/Blanton’s Gold Edition Single Barrel Bourbon

Montecristo No 2/Talisker Dark Storm/Hanssens Oudbeitje Lambic

Montecristo No 2/Talisker Dark Storm/Hanssens Oudbeitje Lambic