Tonight’s Tasting – 5 Vegas Limitada 2008, Belicoso and Moylan’s Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

This is the third month of my membership in Cigar.com’s Cigar of the Month Club, and so far I am happy with my decision to give it a try. Not a single clinker so far, and the selections expose me to cigars I might not otherwise experience. The cigars come with a four page newsletter that explain them at length.

This month’s five pack consists of a 5 Vegas Limitada 2008, Gurkha Regent, Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ, Padilla Obsidian and Rocky Patel Sun Grown. All five cigars are torpedo shaped, also called belicosos or pyramids. The 5 Vegas Limitada 2008 was the “featured” cigar this month, so I thought I try that one first.

5 Vegas Limitada 2008, Belicoso

According to the newsletter, 5 Vegas releases a Limitada every year in a limited production. Only 75,000 single cigars were released for 2008. No two blends have ever been the same, and each release is a combination of premium fillers aged at least five years. The following is the description of the 2008, and I’ll let you know if it lives up to that description.

“5 Vegas Limitada ’08 utilizes a wrapper leaf cultivated in 2002; a toothy Dominican Corojo Oscuro cloaked with oils, providing a richness never experienced in the Limitada line. This wrapper emits sweet notes noticeable in the finish, which are masked by a terrific combination of pepper and spice. The filler for Limitada ’08 creates an incredibly complex experience. Consisting of 6-year-old Dominican Corojo Ligero, Nicaraguan Ligero, Brazilian tobaccos, and Dominican Piloto Cubano long-leaf, the blend is filled with nuances of coffee, cocoa, white pepper, some leather, earth and cedar; creating a rich complexity, incredible balance and a smooth character. Medium to full-bodied, 5 Vegas Limitada 2008 is a must try, and may just be the best Limitada blend produced to date.”

I have to say, after enjoying this cigar, that description is pretty spot on. I can’t say that I picked up the tastes of cocoa and white pepper, but the taste was pleasantly strong with spices. The construction was flawless, and the torpedo shape is growing on me. All cigars grow more flavorful as you smoke because the essence accumulates, but this effect is accentuated by the torpedo shape since the smoke is even more focused through the tapering tip. A thoroughly enjoyable smoke. If the 2008 Limitada is typical of these special releases by 5 Vegas, I can see why they are anticipated. A solid 9.2 on the Morris Scale.  As always, for a closer look at the cigar ring, just click on the photo.

Moylan’s Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

Scotch Ale is the name given to a strong pale ale believed to have originated in Edinburgh in the 19th century. Beers using the designation Scotch Ale are popular in the USA where most examples are brewed locally. Examples of Scotch Ale brewed in Scotland are exported to the USA, though may be available in Scotland under a different name. For example, Caledonian’s Edinburgh Scotch Ale is sold from the cask in Scotland as Edinburgh Strong Ale or as Edinburgh Tattoo.

Strong Scotch Ale is also known as “Wee Heavy”. Examples of beers brewed in the USA under the name Wee Heavy tend to be 7% ABV and higher, while Scottish brewed examples, such as Belhaven’s Wee Heavy, are typically between 5.5% and 6.5% ABV. As with other examples of strong pale ales, such as Barley Wine, these beers tend toward sweetness and a full body, with a low hop flavor. Examples from the Caledonian brewery would have toffee notes from the caramelizing of the malt from the direct fired copper. This caramelizing of Caledonian’s beers is popular in America and has led many American brewers to produce toffee sweet beers which they would label as a Scotch Ale.

Even though the malt used by brewers in Scotland is not dried by peat burning, the Scottish whisky distilleries use low nitrogen barley dried by peat burning. The distinctive flavor of these smoked malts when used in beers is reminiscent of whisky, and such beers are popular in France, Belgium and America. These beers are often named Whiskey Ale or Scotch Ale by the brewers. The most popular French example is Fischer’s Adelscott, while the most popular American example is Samuel Adams Scotch Ale. (Thank you Wikipedia.)

This particular Scotch Ale is from Moylan’s, which is apparently a restaurant and micro brewery in Novato, California, according to their website. The beer does, in fact, have a taste reminiscent of scotch, but not in an overpowering way. Although this beer is 8% ABV, it has a good mouthfeel and finishes with a pleasant bitterness. A very good beer, and an excellent pairing with the 5 Vegas Limitada 2008. I give it an 8.7.

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