Published on July 25th, 2018 | by Ken Gargett0
Partagas Lusitania/Montecristo No 2 – El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum/ Glenmorangie ‘The Quinta Ruban’ Port Cask Finish 12-Year-Old – general.
Today’s rant? Bloody Qantas. But in fairness to the stumbling wombat, it was only a dream. Apparently, I was supposed to be heading off to a tasting in the Mornington Peninsula, or New Zealand – it was never clear, but there were moments where I was literally dreaming of those amazing trout streams in the South Island. Instead, stuck in Newcastle. It was just like that Tom Hanks film about the bloke stuck for years in an airport. For reasons unknown, I could not get another flight to either place and nor could I get one home. No matter how much I tried, back and forth to every person I could find, and it was making me very angry.
Still, bit harsh to blame the wombat for a dream so we will move on.
Our much lamented Greg had one final act of contribution to Kenfessions before he departed Whipcrack’s clutches. A small care package. As has been noted, one is not the local equivalent of a Habanos store and unless the powers that be were happy with the same smokes being recycled regularly, which rather defeats the purpose of trying to match different drinks and different smokes, then an occasional variation would be useful.
Greg’s first effort was interesting. Not sure why but as one worked through them, it seemed that, after a slow start, every cigar got better (at this stage, I think that a few of them are still in the system and have not hit the site as yet). It worked well.
The day Greg left us, he sent another little collection. This was a bit more “interesting” in that he included a couple of ones that should be worthy of attention, but most were the exact same smokes that are in my small rotation. MC 2/Lusi, etc. Now, I would never knock back such offerings or indeed demean Greg’s efforts, but this did seem curious. I asked Greg and to his eternal credit he confessed that he had been rushed and he knew I liked these so had tossed them in, without actually thinking about what they were needed for.
So, first up, a Partagas Lusitania. One of my all-time faves. I have previously related the story of how on my last trip, Jose and a few of us went around various places, searching for some good boxes – only had a day in Havana. I was looking for a box of Lusi’s, but they were hen’s teeth. Finally, out at that resort place (name I can never remember), there they were. I reckon Jose and I checked 30 boxes. Most were absolute crap. You would not use them for compost. I’m not sure if Rob’s PSP/HQ/whatever system has an acronym for utter and complete crap (CAUC?). Then, there were a few that were okay, but you would never fork out real money for them. And then, the Holy Grail, or so it seemed, one box. It looked superb. And when I got it home, it truly was/is. Even a few 100 pointers. Glorious. And there are few things better than a glorious Lusi.
So, I thought I would match it with something worthy. I recently tracked down a bottle of the El Dorado 21-Year-Old Rum, so a perfect time to crack it. This is a sublimely balanced, complex, rich rum. From Guyana, I’ll confess I have not seen a lot from this producer – just a few over the years and rarely when looking seriously – but this is a strong incentive to look harder. Much harder. One of the great rums.
So this should, on paper, be just about as good as it gets as far as matches go.
There was one small problem. Not all Lusi’s are the same.
This particular Lusi may as well have come from one of those compost boxes. CAUC, indeed. Such a disappointment. Looked good with a dark wrapper and a slightly oily sheen. A firm draw but there was an uninspired opening followed by a lacklustre finish. And precious little in the middle. Just no flavour. It was as though someone had sucked all the flavour out of it previously. One expects the occasional dud, so this will not put me off Lusi’s. They remain one of my faves. But this was a grave disappointment.
As for a match, sows’ ears stuff. A glorious complex rum, but not even it could save the Lusi. RIP.
Now, one does not give up though one does become wary. A few nights later, I thought perhaps I’ll give another of Greg’s selections a crack. The Montecristo No 2. I’m slowly working my way through a box of my own Monte 2s (pretty sure I got them in Havana, so Rob is off the hook for these) from 2007 (Greg does not provide me with codes so no idea of age, but I assume that what he sends is largely young).
I’ve got a small collection of notes on matching drinks with my Monte 2s piling up, but to be honest, as they have been a little less than stellar, I have not yet bothered. I love a good Monte 2, or at least I used to, but I have now realised that it has been a while. Perhaps just subconsciously, but they were no longer part of my elite. They had become, at least in my mind (and yes, the same mind that dreams about getting stuck in Newcastle airport so perhaps some caution needed), just another cigar. Again, not giving up, but I no longer approach them with genuine anticipation.
Well, yet another blow to the preconceptions. Greg’s was stunning. It brought back all the great memories of a good Monte 2 and reminded me how long it has been (and revealed how undistinguished my box has been to date). It was rich, full of flavour, honey, chocolate and just a little warm earth. Full-flavoured, with dense and velvety smoke. My first thought was that this would have been an absolute lay down misere with the 21-Year-Old rum. Perfect. But it was not to be.
I had gone with the Glenmorangie ‘The Quinta Ruban’ Port Cask Finish 12-Year-Old whisky. Good whisky and nice match. That hint of honey linked the two well. But I still wished I had gone rum.
Anyway, as they say, to dream, perchance to get bent over by the wombat yet again…