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

Saint Luis Rey Double Corona/Cullen’s Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon 2015/Holgate’s ‘Double Trouble’

Saint Luis Rey Double Corona/Cullen’s Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon 2015/Holgate’s ‘Double Trouble’

Last time, red wine and cigars.

In the interim, a lot of support for various rums and cognacs, but red wine still has its apostles. Last time, to be fair, it was a good red with an average cigar. This time, why not ratchet things up a notch. A great cigar and a brilliant wine. And as first reserve on the bench, a very fine beer (or rather a stout) I love.

The wine is an undoubted superstar. Cullen’s Diana Madeline Cabernet Sauvignon is one of Australia’s top three reds for me, as a broad generalisation – a fabulous Margaret River Cab. Blackcurrants, cloves, dark chocolate, leather, endless length, fantastic complexity, balance and depth. Wonderful – 98 for me.

The beer – Holgate’s Double Trouble’, this one from their 2015 release so some maturity, which just added to the flavours and complexity. In 500ml bottles and at 8%, one needs a little decorum when approaching these, but they are a joy. In the Belgian Dubbel Abbey Ale style, they are richly flavoured, raisin and dark chocolate notes, coffee and toffee.

The cigar – it has long been one of my faves. I love those apricot, stonefruit characters, the subtlety, balance and finesse. No idea of its age (yes, another from the box of random singles). It had a band so that will give some idea and I strongly suspect it goes back to one of the very early releases of the SLR DC with a band. Make of that what you will.

So, wine, brilliant; beer, fabulous; cigar, not so much.

It started well, and there were some immediate though muted stonefruit notes, just as I hoped (I do think that these characters moderate with time, but into other complexities). After that, mostly earthy, toast notes. Occasionally it drifted into pleasant territory but generally, a bit harsh and by the end, mostly hot, some sourness and a little grubby. Such a disappointment. A desperate 85.

As a match, in the beginning, when it was behaving, it really made little impact on the flavours and balance of the wine, but the reverse, the red seemed to sour the cigar. On reflection though, that sour note hung around for too long to blame the red in any way.

The beer worked far better. The slightly sweet, yet rich raisiny characters did sit quite well with the smoke. But even the beer could not save the cigar. A shame.

So, a verdict?

Hard to draw much from this but again, I can’t say that there was anything about the match with the red which changed my mind. Still not the way to go, for me. And just as convincingly, the beer told me that this is a match that does work.

Had this been a good DC, we might just have had magic.


Ardbeg An Oa/Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios

Ardbeg An Oa/Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios

San Cristobel ‘La Fuerza’/Best’s No 1 Shiraz 2015

San Cristobel ‘La Fuerza’/Best’s No 1 Shiraz 2015