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

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

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.  

I, an adult of far too many years, am not allowed to make a decision as to whether I can read about a legal product. If you lot had a spine, you’d trip over it. 

Even worse, I cannot write about a good cigar for a magazine where the demographics are basically the obscenely wealthy. Because rich blokes are not able to make a decision for themselves and need the nanny-state. Shame on the lot of you (and the sad, waste of oxygen, kiddyfiddler who crawled out of his parents’ basement to lodge a complaint – I look forward to the day when I can read that the near-unidentifiable remains of your desiccated corpse were found in said basement, largely consumed by your beloved cats – and that is one almighty unrequited relationship).  

And yet, the buffoons have no issues with me reading about the endless atrocities that happen every day. Serial killings? Pornography? No problem. One can print as much as one likes about the Kardashians and reality TV – how is that not a crime?  

Why on earth is it worse for me to read about cigars than it is to read about the looney tune du jour and his alleged exploits with a dolphin? Quite how the dolphin got into the rubber room is never explained. Apparently, we have the fact that a film about a fish bonking a woman was considered the best film made in the world last year to thank for this. Can it really have been such a thin cinematographic year?  

Oh, my cod!  

Malcolm Brenner, a pin-up for mental health if ever there was one, is having his fifteen minutes. He claims, in his novel (now alleged to be autobiographical – well, if the flipper fits) that back in the 70s, he was in love with, and bonking, a dolphin named Dolly. He does claim that Dolly seduced him. How is he not in jail? Surely the laws for animal cruelty, bestiality and common sense should have seen him locked away for the term of his natural? “The animal seduced me”, is not a recognised defence.  

It does seem that even this demented mooncalf has his limits, saying “I wouldn’t be sexually attracted to male dolphins. As an adult, I’m heterosexual, although I cross species lines.” Large butterfly nets at the ready, please. But while he is wandering the streets, make certain that no one can read about cigars.  

On what planet is it okay for me to be able to read about this whackjob, or about what the 15th Kardashian’s third cousin had for breakfast, but not in order for me to engage with like-minded individuals in an intelligent (mostly) discussion on matters pertaining to a legal product that brings many great pleasure. Time the Oxford had a serious look at itself because the word, ‘civilisation’, does not belong within its pages. We have none.  

To digress, you’d think that this would be the first time I’ve ever written about some sad, deluded, imbecilic dolt and their relationship with a dolphin. It is not. You could not make that up.  

Sharon Tendler. A middle-aged British woman, obviously open to alternative lifestyles, made the headlines about a decade ago for, yes, marrying a dolphin. The dolphin, a male, was called Cindy, short for Cinderella. You reckon that poor animal didn’t have issues (let alone the many nights of sleep it must have cost poor Tony Abbott). This was no one-night stand. Apparently, Ms Tendler, who made mega-millions as a concert promoter (Pfish? Hootie and the Blowfish? The Wailers – see what I did there?), had been visiting Cindy for fifteen years at Eilat in Israel. 

A ceremony was held, the bride wore white and they swapped mackerel (some reports claim it was conflict-free herring, though quite what a ‘conflict-free’ herring is, is beyond me). I will say again, I am not making this up.  

Sharon announced at the end of the ceremony that she was, “the happiest girl on earth” (and presumably underwater). She added, “I am not a pervert”, thereby ruling out a career in the British Parliament. The dolphin was not quoted.  

Shortly after, when newspapers announced, ‘The End of the Sharon Era’, many Israelis mistook that to mean that Sharon and Cindy had broken up (he’d lobster?), rather than thinking of their ailing PM. Okay, I made that up.  

The wedding song? To the tune of ‘That’s Amore’, ‘if the cod starts to scream when you pour in the cream, that’s a mornay’. All right. I made that up as well. But surely the champagne would have been Billecart-Salmon.  

What a tailor roe! 

But to the matter at hand,  

I’m getting to the end of the little care package that Greg so kindly put together for me, but rather nicely, they seem to get better every time I have one, after a rather inauspicious start.  

Today, it was the turn of the H. Upmann No 2. This is not a cigar that often comes within my radar – no idea why and after this one, that must change. Good construction, clean flavours, it started with some fresh woody notes. But it did not take long to move to much richer, deeper, darker flavours. Some roasted nuts but there was a lovely molten chocolate wave. I love a cigar that gets better as you smoke it, finishing with a crescendo. And that was exactly what happened here. A cracker! 94 for me. This was a cigar that could happily spend a lot of time in the humidor, but I wonder if any need. Smoking so well now.  

I’ve been looking at the terrific craft beers from Holgate of late – big fan. So, I looked at two of them with this cigar, for two reasons.  

First, because I really like them; and secondly, to compare two very different beers with the same cigar. The first was the Holgate Mt Macedon Australian Pale Ale (4.5%), with use of Vienna malts and hops from the US Pacific North West. It is clean and fresh and has a good bitter finish, with real length. Not hard to see any beerlover knocking off several of these. This was one of the earliest beers that Holgate created and is still in form, though Holgate do note that it is now leaner and drier than the original version.

The second, Holgate Temptress Choc Porter (6.0%). This was originally intended as a one-off, but has done so well for them that it is now part of the regular production. Good thing too. I have not encountered any other Aussie brewery that comes close to such terrific quality with their porters. For me, they are the jewel in the Holgate crown, though they sit in a real treasure chest. Rich chocolate and cocoa flavours. Finely crafted and heaps of length, while maintaining that richness throughout. 

As matches, the Mt Macedon was perfectly acceptable. Clean bitterness and subtle complexity melded well, though the cigar flavours were somewhat dominant. I think most of us would walk away from this match with few complaints.  

The Temptress is, however, something on an entirely different level. This was a magic pairing. The richness and chocolatey notes of both the cigar and the porter went together like hand in glove. Both are fabulous individually but together, each elevates the other.  

Enjoy it while the government permits. 


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

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

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

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