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 ‘La Hoyo du Roi’/Ardbeg Islay Ten-Year-Old Malt/Domaine de L’Arlot Vosne-Romanee ‘Les Suchots’ 1999

Hoyo de Monterrey ‘La Hoyo du Roi’/Ardbeg Islay Ten-Year-Old Malt/Domaine de L’Arlot Vosne-Romanee ‘Les Suchots’ 1999

Cigars and movies. Not cigars in movies.

I know that quite a few of our members do not smoke indoors, for all manner of reasons which I would do best to avoid discussing, but others are not so limited. I have no such issues and probably enjoy a cigar in front of the telly more often than anywhere else.

Sporting events are a must, though I am wondering about the Superbowl (which is to be played tomorrow, time of writing). Sometimes yes; sometimes, a bit early. Currently undecided. But settling back for a rugby test (nice way to get something from the evening, given the way we play) or a good league game, with a top cigar, is always a fine evening.

I have learnt that for really big games, like Origin, best not to go with a really good cigar because every chance that it will be finished and I will not even remember firing it up! I learnt that years ago when I noticed an old bottle of Grange seemed to be in desperate need of drinking. I opened it pre-game as I was worried it might have fallen off the perch. It was in great condition, to my delight. So, I settled in for a cracking Origin game. Half time, I thought I had better get another glass and so went over to the kitchen. Imagine my surprise to find the bottle empty (and yes, I was on my pat) and another bottle next to it, not Grange, half gone. Had no recollection of refilling during the game, or opening another, I’d been so wrapped up in it. What a sad waste of Grange.

Movies. You’d think there’d be no difference between movies or indeed, between movies and a television series. But there are. For reasons unknown, some movies just seem far more suited to a cigar. And more enjoyable.

Please, post what movies you enjoy watching with a cigar.

Here are a few thoughts for films that have enhanced the cigar and vice versa for me (I guess no different to how some music works better with a cigar – we’ll deal with that in time).

A good thriller. It just seems right.

Anything with Winston Churchill. The connection is obvious. It almost seems irreverent to think of watching a flick about/with Churchill sans a big stogie.

Westerns. A good Western, particularly a top-notch John Wayne Western, is perfect. Settle back, watch the white hats eventually win. Watch the Duke deliver a few classic lines and win the day. Wonderful. And this extends to modern day Westerns – the Star Wars collection, although there are only two, possibly a third, that you’d want to bother watching (yet to see the new one so here’s hoping another can join the fold). Surely Hans Solo should have never been seen without a cigar! And we can add pretty much anything starring Clint. Not just the Westerns – though ‘Good, Bad and the Ugly’ can surely brook no argument – but ‘Where Eagles Dare’, as well.

007. Compulsory. Well, not those lite-weight crappy ones from the latter part of Roger Moore’s stint. But the Connery and Craig Bond flicks, a cigar is as necessary as a good malt (or Bolly if we are following the script of late).

From left field, and I have no real idea why, but the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki. Love the films but why they seem to work so well with a good cigar I have no idea. ‘Spirited Away’, what a brilliant flick, just seems even better with a first class cigar. And I have repeated the exercise a number of times to confirm first, second and third impressions. ‘Porco Rosso’ is not far behind, but it just works for all his films. Try it.

But the winner! The hands down, unarguable, perfect cigar film is ‘The Buena Vista Social Club’, and yes, I have recently covered the flick in another piece. The reasons are surely obvious but sitting there, watching the old guys (can you believe it was 20 years ago it came out?), listening to that amazing music, hearing the wonderful story of how they have been so deservedly resurrected (kudos, Ry Cooder, it was a wonderful thing you did), it all just resonates and even more so with a great cigar. And as an aside, for any of our younger members who have not seen this film, stop what you are doing and find a copy. Now.

So, on an evening where I watched none of the above, and perhaps diminished the cigar because of it, I went with the Hoyo de Monterrey ‘La Hoyo du Roi’ (GSN MAR 07). A thoroughly enjoyable smoke, it started with woody notes and the aroma of an old hay bale. Moved into toasty flavours. A lovely evening smoke and it soon settled into a really appealing creamy, velvety texture. Terrific stuff.

I had the last third of a bottle of a fabulous Burgundy, the Domaine de L’Arlot Vosne-Romanee ‘Les Suchots’ 1999, on the kitchen bench, and so, despite my abhorrence (so often ignored) of reds and cigars, I gave it a go. The Burg was so silky on the finish that it did not have the same jarring tannic experience which so often mars the combo, but it was still all a bit blah. Matching them did little for either of our components.

So, to an old fave, the Ardbeg Islay Ten-Year-Old Malt. Love that peatiness. And those wonderfully intriguing smoky notes worked their magic. A combination so far ahead of any red. If only I’d had the right flick!


Montecristo No 2/Talisker Dark Storm/Hanssens Oudbeitje Lambic

Montecristo No 2/Talisker Dark Storm/Hanssens Oudbeitje Lambic

Cohiba Piramide LE 2006/25-Year-Old Edmund Dantès Rum

Cohiba Piramide LE 2006/25-Year-Old Edmund Dantès Rum