Cubans

Published on September 25th, 2018 | by Ken Gargett

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Cohiba Pyramide LE 2006/Glendronach 21-Year-Old Parliament Single Malt – Travels and the Bank

Impossible not to love travelling but it does seem that, more and more, it is designed to be a challenge.

I’m about to head off, long gone by the time you read this, for a tasting in Helsinki and then some wineries and wine bars in Madrid and Oporto. Still running around like the proverbial headless chook trying to organise things.

Had a cheque to drop off at the bank the other day. Used to quite like my bank. When I first went in to try and arrange the home loan years ago, was a bit nervous that I was not going to qualify (as a former banking lawyer, I should have known that they’d throw money at anyone, no matter what the chances of repaying it were). Had boxes and boxes of documents and records and accounts. Stepped in to meet the manager, lugging all the stuff, and there is a photo of him and a fish on his desk. We spend the next 90 minutes talking fishing while his staff try and hurry him up for all the appointments piling up outside. Eventually, he says that we better wind this up, how much do I want and don’t worry about the records etc.

When I moved back to Brizzy, I kept that as my specified head office, but there was a local branch just a few minutes up the road. Very convenient. Now, the buggers have closed it down and I am now forced to drive 30 minutes, each way, to a massive shopping centre, find a park, walk miles. Not happy.

In I go and there is a woman in bank garb standing in front of the ticket dispensing machine. She looks at me and says nothing. She looks very much like someone who believes life has not been fair to her.
I say hi.
“Yes?” she says.
I am wondering what is going on. “What do you want?” she snaps.
A teller, I suggest.
‘Over there’.
‘Okay’.

Anyway, plenty of people in the bank but no one using a teller, so up I go. Deposit the cheque and then think, a good time to pick up some Euros and tick that off the to-do list. I have one teller to myself, plus her assistant teller.

I ask if they have any Euros.

‘Yes, but they only come in packs. We don’t have any loose Euros’ (I’m wondering quite what a loose Euro looks like – dressed in lingerie, reclining back with a drink and a smoke?).
‘In packs of what?’
‘450 Euros. You have to buy by the pack.’
‘That will be fine. I’ll take a pack.’
‘We’ll have to get the manager.’
‘Really?’
‘Yes, we have to unlock the security system and vaults to get to the Euros.’

That seems a bit arse-about to me. If I am a thief and want to rob a bank, I suspect I am going to be happy with Aussie dollars. I can’t imagine a thief saying, forget the dollars, hurry up and open the vaults as I’m only taking your Euros. But, best to stay quiet, as I have failed to learn so often.

The assistant eventually comes back and says ‘sorry, they are not packs of 450 Euros. They are 350 Euros.’
‘That will be fine’, I say.
‘Do you want one or two packs’, she asks.
‘One will be fine’.
‘I have to get the manager’.

So off we go again.

Meanwhile, the teller gets me to swipe my card. 350 Euros is $517.60. Blink and it is gone.

The assistant comes back. ‘We don’t have any packs’.

I say, ‘well, just as well I didn’t want two’. Knew it was a mistake the moment I uttered it. She has no idea what I am talking about and we have an exchange where I try and explain. Oh, never mind.

The teller is just shaking her head in amazement at the assistant, but tells me to swipe my card to get refunded. She assures me that there will be no fees for this. And the cheque is in the mail…

The assistant watches her do that and then says, ‘but we do have loose Euros’.

Seriously?

‘Yes, we have a couple of hundred. What do you want?’
‘Well how much do you actually have?’
‘I’d have to check.’
‘Off you go then.’
‘I’ll have to get the manager.’
‘Of course you will.’
She comes back. ‘We have 350 loose Euros’.
‘So, exactly the same amount as in a pack. Which you don’t have. Which I paid for and have been, fingers crossed, refunded.’
‘Yes.’
‘I’ll take them.’
‘Okay, but they will be a different price.’
‘What?’
‘The 350 Euros that were loose are a different price from the 350 Euros in a pack.’
‘Of course they are. And I bet I know which is more expensive.’
‘Well, that is because they don’t come in a pack.’
‘So it is cheaper to have someone spend the time organising them into packs than it is to do nothing.’

She looks at me like I am an idiot. I’m starting to feel like one.

Okay, I am getting a smidge grumpy by now and decide if there is much difference, I’ll go elsewhere. ‘How much’, I ask, ‘are the loose Euros?’
‘I’d have to check.’

Oh, Jesus Christ!

The teller is now trying very hard not to laugh out loud, as the assistant trots off to check with the manager.

She comes back. ‘$517.60’.
‘So exactly the same’.
‘What?’
‘The loose Euros are exactly the same price as the packaged Euros.’
‘Are they?’

The teller looks up – she has almost bitten through her lip to avoid laughing – and decides to save me and just asks me to swipe my card yet again.

Quite why getting a bit of cash for the trip should have been turned into a circus I know not, but I bet there will be worse to come.

Who wouldn’t need a cigar and a drink after that!

A pretty fantastic match with a cigar I love, the Cohiba Pyramide LE 2006, and a whisky I knew nothing about, the Glendronach 21-Year-Old Parliament Single Malt.

The Cohiba was not a fruit bomb, but it certainly was of that ilk. Some raisins, licorice, nougat and leather. Slightly under medium. Some real complexity here. Fine finish. This was a cracker of a cigar. If you want a score, 96.

The whisky, not a distiller with which I was familiar but a stonking malt. From Speyside. Apparently, these guys focus maturing in on sherry barrels. This was mature and complex. Some warm earth and mineral. Real fruitcake richness. This is a Christmas whisky, if ever there was one. Hints of chocolate, but especially old muscat, PX notes. No surprise as the casks used for maturation are a mix of oloroso and PX barrels. Supple with good spirit. A plum pudding of a whisky. For me, 95.

By the way, the name, ‘Parliament’ – even thinking of politicians is enough to put one off both cigar and whisky – comes from the flock of rooks, a parliament, that roost in the surrounding trees.

And although I would argue that there are some LEs with more of that fruitcake profile that would have made an even better match, this was hard to fault. That richness and fruitiness in both just went hand in glove.

I think the whisky comes in around A$250, although I am not sure if that is the ‘packaged’ price or for a loose one.

KBG


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