Published on June 6th, 2018 | by Ken Gargett0
Juan Lopez No 2/Delamain XO ‘Pale and Dry’.
We all know that Greg has had it tough. Working for Whipcrack cannot be easy. But we are a forgiving lot. And anyway, the good news, for me, is that Greg missed a Kenfessions (slipped through the Kenfessional?) focusing on last year’s Origin, but, as all we good Queenslanders know, Origin comes around every year. so with a touch of tinkering, I already have a column all done! Well done, Greg.
So, reverting back to this time last year, I found myself interstate for the 3rd and deciding Origin game. Granted this was South Australia where they have not even caught up with Origin as it pertains to Darwin, but there were a few NSW fans along. Cocky bastards. They were convinced they were going to win. you’d think that the past decade would have taught them something.
Anyway, more relevantly, for short trips, if I think that there is a possibility of sneaking time to have a cigar, I find myself almost always going to the Juan Lopez No 2. Reliability, great flavours, not too big that you are forced to waste half of it.
On that trip, I did not bother to pack any cigars as I knew there would be no chance, but there were times I really would have loved one.
It was to Coonawarra for a couple of amazing days at Wynns, as they celebrated 60 vintages of their famous Black Label Cabernet. And yes, we tasted every single one. And plenty more. Some days at work are better than others, but getting there was not all Bordeaux and skittles. Not so much the getting up at 3.30am to catch the stumbling wombat – and if I may digress, as mentioned in a thread elsewhere on FoH at the time, on the return flight, I got the lamb biryani, or as it is also known, a pile of crap, with a thorough search of the plop of glop on the dried out rice revealing no sign of lamb or any other form of meat, but sadly I missed the small rock that has ensured I was destined to spend a day in the dentist’s chair with half a molar missing. But sometimes they do lead with their chin. Karma, indeed. Apparently, I got lumped in some focus group and the wombat asked me to tell them what I thought of them. I was happy to do so. Honestly, if their staff walked down the aisle in storm trooper get-up I would not be surprised.
When I arrived in Melbourne, I had to dash across from Tullamarine to Essendon Airport to catch the tiny death-trap across to Coonawarra. It would have helped if the travel agents organising the trip had told me the correct hangar, but we got there eventually. Not certain I have been in a plane where I had to sit on an angle as the roof was too low to sit straight. It was me, five other writers who are all good friends as we have done this sort of thing for years now, and the pilot. Catering was an esky behind the seat, sadly sans beer. We landed on the grass and somehow I lived, but the fun was not over. As the pilot walked, I should say crouched, to the back of the plane to open the tiny hatch we’d crawled in through, apparently the weight was such that the plane tipped up and backwards. ‘Oh bleep’, said the pilot – never good.
But the next two days made up for it. Spectacular stuff and the Wynns team were so kind that they arranged for me to leave the dinner early for the Origin game (though I stuffed the timing, thinking because South Aussie was 30 minutes behind, so would be the game – not my finest moment). My good mate, James Halliday, is perhaps an even bigger sports tragic than I am and the two of us rushed back to my motel room for some Coopers (having given up the Latour – ah, the sacrifices, but Latour or an Origin decider? It was not an easy choice) in time for those cheating refs to deny the other Cooper, Cronk, his well-deserved try but all was good – especially as Halliday is a dyed-in-the-wool Mexican and he was not enjoying the game at all. As we put the final nail in the NSW coffin, ‘now would be an extremely good time to say absolutely nothing’ was all he said, but he said nothing about a victory dance!
All of which was simply a chance for me to mention Origin again for our southern friends (and I have not even started on idiots getting drunk before the game). Got home and decided to fire up a JL 2 the next evening, my first cigar in ages. From a box (SMG FEB 08). From the first moment, that lovely toasty, roasted nut, full flavoured character and even a touch of chocolate. The problem was that, despite appearances, there must have been an issue rolling it. If I had another cigar for every time I had to relight, I could have put Rob out of business. Incredibly frustrating and disappointing. Such a shame. A dud!
I had taped the recent Mad Max film and watched it with the smoke. Now, and spoiler alert of sorts, while I thought it was not bad, as far as I can see, a bloke gets captured and used for spare blood by some loons and a few other people decide to escape and he tries to escape with them. That is it. Did I miss anything? I will say that had Daniel Craig not lined up again for 007, Tom Hardy would have been my strong preference for the role (unless they wanted to go all suave and poncy and retro-Moore, then Henry Cavill).
The saving grace was the cognac – the Delamain XO ‘Pale and Dry’. Brilliant stuff and showed enough to suggest it would have worked well with a JL 2 in form. Hazelnuts, jasmine, nectarines, cashews and finely balanced. Terrific power and impressive spirit. Cracker cognac.