Review: Drew Estate BOTL.org 2013
Earlier this year, PodMan Cigars and Drew Estate released its second cigar for the BOTL.org, the Drew Estate BOTL.org 2013. Last year PodMan Cigars released a Lancero that was made by Drew Estate for the forum, this year they chose a Corona Gorda — something just a little bit fatter and a little bit shorter.
This is actually the fourth release for the forum and Tim Podwika. Back in 2010, Pinar Del Rio released 4,000 cigars that were made specifically for the BOTL.org forum. These were sold at Burning Leaf, a shop where Podwika was an employee. The following year Podwika left to start his own business, PodMan Cigars and in 2012 the next BOTL.org cigar was released, this time it was made by Drew Estate.
Podwika describes the history of the 2012 BOTL cigar on his site as follows:
The story of the BOTL 2012 begins over 2 years ago when I went to the Drew Estate Factory on a retailer Cigar Safari. During this trip I blended a lancero that I thought was pretty good. Knowing I would be back in a few months Jonathan graciously agreed to make a few more to keep at the factory to age until I returned. In the time between trips the BOTL Small Batch 2010 from PDR hit the shop. Jonathan happened to come in for an event and saw this project. He was immediately interested in having Drew Estate be a part of this. Time went by and the cigar changed a little due to the availability of certain tobaccos with the help of JD and Nicholas of Drew Estate. I was in touch with Eric, the owner of the forum BOTL.org, about the project and we both agreed it would be great to have Drew Estate on board with this. I sent him a handful of cigars to try to get his opinion and seal of approval. Then, with his blessing, the cigar is what we have now. The cigar is a medium-full to full bodies lancero measuring 7X38. It features a beautiful Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper which is the same one Drew Estate uses on their very popular Feral Flying Pig. It drapes a pure Nicaraguan filler blend which is held together by a Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade binder. It is full-flavored, warm, chewy, earthy cigar with notes of cocoa and a hint of pepper. They come in beautiful boxes of 15 cigars. Many thanks go to JD, Nicholas and most importantly Eric for making this project come alive.
In addition to the Drew Estate release, Pinar Del Rio’s 2010 cigar has been re-released. The four BOTL.org releases look like this:
- Pinar Del Río BOTL.org Small Batch 2010 (6 x 46) — $6.25 (Boxes of 20, $120.00) — July 2010 — 200 Boxes of 20 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
- Drew Estate BOTL.org 2012 (7 x 38) — June 7, 2012 — $12.95 (Boxes of 15, $194.25) — 200 Boxes of 15 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
- Pinar Del Rio BOTL.org Small Batch 2010 (2013) — May 28, 2013 — (6 x 46) — $7.00 (Boxes of 20, $140.00) — 200 Boxes of 20 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
- Drew Estate BOTL.org 2013 (6 x 46) — June 9, 2013 — $12.00 (Boxes of 15, $180.00) — 100 Boxes of 15 Cigars (1,500 Total Cigars)
The boxes of the Drew Estate BOTL.org 2013 look like this:
Now you know the background, so let’s get to the review.
- Cigar Reviewed: Drew Estate BOTL 2013
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- Filler: Nicaraguan ASP Ligero & DE Jalapa Ligero
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 46
- Vitola: Corona Gorda
- MSRP: $12.00 (Box of 15, $180.00)
- Date Released: June 9, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 15 Cigars (1,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The wrapper is a beautifully mottled dark brown and is smooth and oily to the touch. The band almost matches the wrapper color exactly, causing the cream colored text to really pop out at you. A gentle squeeze reveals a couple of very small soft spots throughout, but overall it feels like a solid enough cigar. The cigar itself seems to be rolled very well with the seams barely visible. Smelling the wrapper I get the aroma of leather, cocoa and a touch of cinnamon. The cold draw however is almost pure milk chocolate with the slightest hint of chili powder—quite different and it intrigues me to see what the flavors are once lit.
The first third starts off with powerful creamy milk chocolate notes with some very more subdued chili powder notes in the background. After only a few draws some cinnamon joins into the mix as well. The smoke itself is just pouring out of the cigar and creates beautiful billowing white clouds. Since the band matched the wrapper, it only makes sense that the ash almost matches the text color on the band and is only a couple of shades lighter. With the ash holding easily to well over an inch and with a very solid burn line any minor worries I had over soft spots and construction are quickly abolished. Getting a little further into the first third the cigar has developed into a sweeter, creamier profile with the milk chocolate still dominating and some leather, pepper and cedar notes complementing it nicely.
Starting off the second third of the BOTL.org 2013 there is a major shift in flavors to cinnamon and coffee notes that completely take over. The milk chocolate, cedar and leather are still there, but very much in the background. Ash continues to hold strong and the burn continues sharp and even. The flavors continue throughout the entire second third without any real change that I can detect.
The final third still has the deep cinnamon and coffee notes present, though the milk chocolate has returned with a vengeance making for a delicious combination. It’s not a surprise that the ash still is firmly holding on, the burn perfect and the smoke production still over the top. Unfortunately, despite smoking as slowly as possible, the end gets just a touch harsh putting the slightest damper on what was an overall enjoyable cigar.
- The wrapper on the BOTL.org 2013 is described as the same wrapper as the Feral Flying Pig. Whether it’s identical isn’t clear. For more on that, read my Nica Rustica review.
- The blend is the same as the 2012 version, just tweaked to fit the slightly larger ring gauge.
- In the announcement post for this cigar, Nicholas Melillo was quoted talking a little bit about the special filler used in the cigar:
ASP ligero is almost impossible to get and one of the most powerful and flavorful ligeros in the world. DE Jalapa ligero is grown especially for Drew Estate in Jalapa valley – it is not as spicy as the Esteli ligero but carries strength and natural sweetness.
- I smoked the 2012 version and was not nearly as impressed with it as Brooks was. Maybe it was my palate that day or just that single cigar, but I was much more impressed with the 2013 version. Since it’s essentially the same blend combined with the fact I’m a huge Lancero fan, I’m guessing it was something else besides the cigar.
- This year’s release was half of what the 2012 production was. When we talked to Tim Podwika at IPCPR 2013, he was telling us that he didn’t even get a box of them for himself this year.
- Since these were released a couple of months ago and in such small numbers, your only chance of finding them now is on the secondary market.
- This cigar was purchased by halfwheel. Drew Estate is a site sponsor.
- Final smoking time averaged right around an hour and 45 minutes.
The Bottom Line: I could tell from the cold draw that this thing was going to be a delicious chocolate bomb and boy was I right. I’ve smoked a handful of cigars that I’ve said taste just like I’m smoking a chocolate bar and this ended up joining that list. The milk chocolate that dominated the majority of the cigar, complemented by some other outstanding flavors, made for a profile that I could smoke all day long. Unfortunately these were very low production, so even though they’ve been long sold out within a few hours of going up for sale, you’re going to still have a difficult time finding them on the secondary market. If you do though and you don’t mind paying for whatever the seller is charging, then I highly recommend picking some of these up.
Final Score: 93