All eyes are on Australian treasurer Joe Hockey tonight to balance the books and set the fiscal tone for Tony Abbott’s new government.
How do you unwind from the stress of carrying the nation’s financial burden on your shoulders? As a cameraman from Channel 9 discovered last week, a sneaky stogie outside his parliamentary office with finance minister Mathias Cormann is one method.
So to celebrate Smokin’ Joe’s first budget, here are six for him to fire up after he’s reignited the economy with his plans.
Montechristo No. 2
A classic and one of the most famous cigars of all time, it’s the cigar that says you’re both an aficionado and the everyman, prepared for a puff on the ladder of opportunity with the rest of the battlers. Always a favourite with critics, it combines the woody notes of George Brandis’ custom-built taxpayer-funded parliamentary library with the leather notes of the Senate cross benches.
Padrón 1964 Diplomatico Maduro
Nicaragua, Box of 5, $145
When the Padrón family founded their cigar company 50 years ago, Australian PM Robert Menzies reintroduced National Service to share the burden of the Vietnam war. This whopping 18cm cigar has plenty of dark chocolate flavours with a finish that’s as nutty as a Palmer United Party press release.
Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto
Dominican Republic, $32
The wrapper is Sumatran, so it’s a good one to share with the Indonesians over discussions about turning back the boats. It has coffee and wood notes with a sweet finish that’s just like Madam Speaker when she ejects another Labor MP from Question Time. The pleasure will last until you finally stop working in your 70s.
Cohiba Behike 54
A more Hockey-shaped number, this rich, squat smoke with leather and coffee notes is perfect for discrete after dinner discussions with VIP donors to the treasurer’s North Sydney Forum. Of course this was the brand created for Fidel Castro back in the ’60s and the favoured gift to share between politicians, diplomats and would-be rulers-for-life. The flavour lingers like a lobbyist. Sure it’s expensive, but democracy and the freedom to express your views to those in power in private is priceless.
Partagas Lusitania Gran Reserva 2007
Won’t somebody think of the billionaires? What’s in this budget for them? If you have money to burn, why not roll it up after 5 years of ageing, like this cigar by octogenarian master blender Arnaldo Bichot. Just 5,000 numbered boxes of 15 were made.
Gurkha 125th Anniversary XO
Nicaragua, Brazil, Dominican Republic, $45
125 years might seem like a long time, but until Joe came along, just remember it was going to take Wayne Swan that long to get the Budget back in the black, so here’s a fine choice that’s more levy than tax when it comes to lighting up.
A mix of herbs, spices and vanilla that reminds you of a Greens meeting, there’s also dried citrus, cedar, roasted chestnut and nice hints of leather to this smart little cigar.
Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchill
Get that statesman look and feel as you go to war with lefties and unions with this famous brand, beloved of the great British Tory leader. It has a mix of plum pudding spiciness and raisins with mixed nuts, a bit like the balance of power in the Senate from July. Serve with a think-piece from the Minerals Council or the Institute of Public Affairs.