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

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

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.

  1. I attempted to recover a very good woollen jumper I had left there on another visit, only to find that their winery dog had taken possession of it, made it its bed and was not giving it up under any circumstances. That dog was amazing. There has never been a fieldsman in any cricket team with half the skill it had. The guys would take the hard plastic bung from a barrel and hurl it into the Besser brick wall – the odd shape would mean it would always bounce back in a different direction but always at high speed. The dog never missed. It would fly through the air and grab that bung. Every time.

  2. Brokenwood is, of course, the small Hunter winery that James Halliday and friends set up many years ago (for non-wine people, he has long been our most influential wine critic – and a former lawyer – and is highly regarded around the world).

I remember Halliday telling me the story of one of the early weekends – in those days, they all had day jobs so would work all week and then race up to the Hunter to work in the vineyards and winery before racing back for work on Monday morning. One of their mates, who came up regularly “to assist”, would always arrive, in his tiny mini minor, with a stunning blonde. But never the same blonde. On one occasion, he and the blonde de jour had snuck off in the mini. He’d driven it into the vines for some privacy and the two of them had disrobed and climbed into the back seat, what there was of it. And away they went. Unfortunately, this was a really tiny car and the two of them got stuck. In every possible way. They could not move. They tried everything but no luck. Jammed tight and needing assistance.

The windows had misted up a little and the first hint that they might not be alone was when they heard rubbing on the windows and knocking on the car. It seems the local Girl Guide troop was out for an adventure in the vines to earn some badges. They got way more than they bargained for. The troop was run by a local harridan who wondered what was causing such mirth and fascination amongst the girls and so went to investigate. All hell broke loose. Complaints were laid. Police were called. Smelling salts rushed to the scene.

Fair to say that this did not slow down our lothario who appeared a few weekends later. With a different blonde.

For his next adventure, our friend took things even further downhill, but you’ll have to wait until the next Kenfessions for the next adventures.

Nothing like a cigar on the deck of a winery at sunset with a glass of something good. And this match was nothing like that, taking place back at home.

Some time ago, we looked at the combo of a Hoyo de Monterrey ‘Le Hoyo de San Juan’ with the Blanton’s Gold Edition Single Barrel Bourbon. Same bourbon, same brand of cigar but a different one, to see how it might fare – the Hoyo Epicure Especial.

Most of us know the cigar but rarely have I had a better one – I assume that the Cuban language does not have a word for consistency. It was rich with nuts, spices, walnut notes, a hint of white chocolate and some cinnamon. This all morphed into lovely caramel flavours. Wonderful.

The Blanton’s? As before, an absolute cracker. Powerful stuff at 51.5%. And as before, barrels are bottled individually and this one was from Barrel 1135, bottled in 2016. Notes of orange and chocolate, hint of butterscotch, hazelnuts and caramel. A very long finish. Really liked this. Some walnut and white chocolate as well.

To have both the cigar and the bourbon exhibiting caramel notes mean it is almost a no-brainer. They matched superbly, but what I really like, from an objective perspective, is that this is compelling evidence that you do not need to have LEs or prestige spirits et al, to ensure a great match. Loved it.

Anyway, as always, please post any thoughts and stand by for part two of the Brokenwood adventures.


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

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

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

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