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

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

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

A bottle of Ata Rangi Pinot Noir is in serious peril.

Some days, you just feel trapped. Today, literally. It is freezing in my house at the moment. I type in fishing gloves as they have the fingertips cut off. Four layers and blankets. If I walk outside, it is at least ten degrees warmer but inside…

I get in and out of my house through a small channel between wine boxes and bottles in the garage. The garage is also warmer than the house in winter (seriously, the fridge is warmer than the house in winter) and there was I, sitting typing away (and if you can believe it, it has happened again in the short time I have done these two paras) when crash and bang. Bottles banging about and falling over. Cases tumbling.

It is winter, for Christ’s sake. The time when the one thing I do not have to worry about is snakes. And here is 12 foot of carpet python, welcome back Monty, doing its best Mr Magoo through my bottles. I tried some banging of my own to drive it out of the garage, but simply managed to turn it around and see it disappear into my mountain of empty wine boxes at the back of the garage. Special! It could easily curl up there for a week or two, but it is surprisingly active for a big snake in winter. It might be hungry? The way the tongue kept flicking out suggested it was looking for something.

Much banging on walls and doors were to no avail.

So back to work. Thirty minutes later, more banging and crashing. It has emerged from the mountain of boxes and is exploring, but I can’t see it. I just hear the trail of destruction it leaves.

There is a crimsafe-style screen door between the house and the garage and I am peering through it. I can’t see the snake. Suddenly, four inches from my nose, the size of a clenched fist (and I have big hands), Monty’s head is looking straight at me. I have the awful feeling that he is sizing up whether I’d fit. All the banging and slamming the door makes no difference to Monty. Not phased at all. He coils up and three bottles of wine, standing on a bookcase about four foot above the garage floor, all go tumbling on to said floor. Miraculously, none break. But the Ata Rangi Pinot is right on the edge of the case, and the coils miss it. The snake is climbing – not sure on what as there is very little there and certainly not much to hold its weight. 12 foot of snake is very heavy. I watch the last three feet actually coil around the bottle. If it goes, it will fall four feet onto other bottles. It has no chance. Amazingly, the snake continues to climb and the bottle stays. For now.

Much banging has failed to reveal Monty’s exact location at the moment, and the nerves are a bit too shot to venture in and look.

Well, be careful what you wish for…

Just after I typed the above, there was Monty, hanging on the inside of the garage door. I have just spent an hour trying to convince him that life would be so much better for both of us if we were on the outside. Banging things (I think he thought it was the dinner bell), moving the garage door up and down – at one stage I even accidentally jammed him in the edge part. I was not trying to hurt him but thought well whoops, that will chop him in half. I have no doubt that the door would slice my finger off if I stuck it there. Nuh, not Monty. Did not even bother him. He was stuck till I could eventually free it but no squirming, no hassle. Finally, after ages spent trying to get him to get on top of the door so I could tip him out, down he came. Then disappeared into all the junk on the other side. No idea if he slithered out or is curled up.

Threw the arvo into chaos. Rob was supposed to be here for a vid, but I had too much on. Now I wish he was and I could have sent him to the fray!

There was good news. I saved the Ata Rangi Pinot.

So believe me, I really need a good drink and a cigar this evening.

But that won’t help me today. This is from very recently. We looked at the truly glorious El Dorado 21-Year-Old rum recently, with a Lusi (and also a top Whisky). This time, I could not go beyond trying it again, with the Romeo & Juliet Limited Edition Capuletos 2016.

The rum we’ve discussed, but to recap, stunning. Spice, cinnamon, white chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, orange rind. Hints of caramel and old teak. Intense, yet balanced and so, so, so long. If you want a score, 98. And I have no idea why I am being so stingy. Rum does not get much better.

The smoke? 53 x 153, so basically a Robusto Extra. It has received very positive responses and reviews, though not consistently – not uncommon with LEs.

Not as dark a wrapper as some. Florals, orange blossom, hint of chocolate, though certainly far less than comes with some LEs. Subtle. Hint of dry hay. More herbal than some LEs. Quickly developed into a lovely, reasonably mild smoke. Developed some biscuity, cinnamon notes. For me, 92.

So, if we want an intro class in matching, we could hardly do better. Both the smoke and the rum shared similar characters, and that was why, as well as the fact that both were so well balanced and neither was too overwhelming, they melded together like hand in glove. The orange notes, the cinnamon, the florals, a touch of chocolate. Brilliant. A near perfect match.

There was only one hiccup – our glorious leader had fiddled with my lighter earlier and I did not notice that when I took my thumb off the ‘trigger’, it did not go out immediately. So I put it down and enjoyed the smoke, when suddenly I noticed that my table was on fire.

It is easier dealing with Monty.


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

Partagas Lusitania/Montecristo No 2 – El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum/Glenmorangie ‘The Quinta Ruban’ Port Cask Finish 12-Year-Old – general.

Partagas Lusitania/Montecristo No 2 – El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum/Glenmorangie ‘The Quinta Ruban’ Port Cask Finish 12-Year-Old – general.