In 2010, the BOTL.org forum got its own cigar, a Corona Gorda made by Pinar Del Río. At the time, the cigar was not well-known, particularly outside of the forum. Last year, a second BOTL.org was added, this time by Drew Estate, which led to a lot more recognition of the series.
It was announced that Drew Estate would be returning with a follow-up cigar in 2013, as well as PDR Cigars remaking the original BOTL.org 2010.
In the end, Drew Estate would make two different cigars for 2013 bringing the series up to five releases:
- 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 2013 (6 x 46) — 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)
- Drew Estate BOTL.org Corona (5 1/4 x 42) –– October 10, 2013 –– ($10.00) (Boxes of 15, $149.95) — 300 Boxes of 15 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
As is the norm with the BOTL.org releases, the cigars are a partnership between the forum, manufacturer and Tim Podwika of Podman Cigars. While the original PDR release was sold at Burning Leaf Cigars, every release since has been sold at Podwika’s own store.
While the blend is described as the same, and the cigars look essentially identical, pricing has increased from $6.25 per cigar to $7. In addition, the cigar is made in the new PDR Cigars factory.
The boxes look like this:
- Cigar Reviewed: Pinar Del Río BOTL.org Small Batch 2013
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: PDR Cigars
- Wrapper: Brazilian Bahía
- Binder: Dominican Criollo 98
- Filler: Dominican Habano & Nicaragua Corojo
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 46
- Vitola: Corona Gorda
- MSRP: $7.00 (Boxes of 20, $124.00)
- Date Released: May 28, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 20 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 5
Appearance-wise, the BOTL.org Small Batch 2013 looks good. The roll lines aren’t perfect, but they are good enough and there’s a great golden hue to the wrapper. Out of the cellophane, I get a big floral note that reminds me of the Cabaiguan WCD 120 REDUX, which extends to the foot, which as a bit more vanilla. The cold draw is similar: a grew floral, somewhat spicy and a touch of coffee.
It wouldn’t be fair to say there is no floral on the start of the first third—it’s on the bottom of the tongue—but it’s dominated by a salty cedar note. Two things are apparent from the start: there’s a harshness that is a bit surprising, particularly since the cigar has been in our humidor for over a half of a year, and the flavor is much stronger than the original release of the PDR BOTL.org Small Batch. There’s a typical Dominican cedar note, a touch of berry sweetness and some apple cider on the finish, but the cigar is dominated by the harshness. Construction-wise, the draw is fine, the burn is inconsistent between samples and the ash is about as fragile as I’ve seen.
The second third sees the cigar get harsher. The Pinar Del Río BOTL.org 2013 shows more of a veneer-like woodiness and an intensified is creaminess, but the harshness is still the dominant note. There’s some life in the retrohale with a decent coffee bean, but it’s hard to appreciate. On two samples, I don’t even make it this far without a relight, which is frustrating. Elsewhere, the ash is still a mess.
In somewhat of a rare occurrence, the cigar actually gets less harsh with under an inch. It’s not a good thing, except in a vacuum, but I don’t know if it honestly helped what was left of the flavor at that point. The woody note is even more generic than in the first third and with little else outside of some generic baking spices left to provide flavor.
- As I’ve said in my review of the Ezra Zion Tantrum and later with the Tatuaje Black Label Corona Gorda 2013, some times harshness can add to the profile. This was not well-received by some, and I suppose cigars like this prove where the lines are. When the harshness, or edginess, is an addition to a flavor, it might work. When it’s the dominant part of the profile, like this, it’s difficult to enjoy.
- The ash of this cigar, despite my pictures, is amongst the most fragile I have seen. I had to slowly move the cigar from the ashtray to my mouth so the pictures could capture some ash. It’s an annoyance, not something worth knocking points off for.
- Smoked five cigars, two had real issues staying lit through the first third.
- I really liked the original release, but I smoked it after it has been out for a year. That being said, I never heard anyone have poor experiences with it.
- BOTL.org is hardly the only online cigar community with its own cigar. Cigar Family got a special cigar from Fuente in 2006, Reddit’s r/cigars got cigar of its own last year and Cigar Dojo has one coming next year.
- Podman Cigars still has the BOTL Small Batch 2010 by PDR in stock. Don’t forget to tell them halfwheel sent you.
- Strength is medium plus, the actual flavor of the cigar was much stronger than the earlier BOTL.org releases as this is a medium-full/full cigar. There’s nothing heavy, it’s just much more intense than the original PDR release.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel, in the interest of full disclosure I am a member of the BOTL.org forum.
- Final smoking times one hour and 40 minutes.
I have not been more interested to see what gets written below the score in a while. I smoked five cigars, all had defining amounts of harshness, at this point, problematic signs of harshness. As a habit, I try to avoid at all cost reading or gathering people’s opinions about a review I’m working on until the review is done, and that’s been the story here. Perhaps it’s a sick period, perhaps it needs more time—all possible explanations, but it’s hard for me to recommend the cigar at this moment. I never smoked the original release fresh, so perhaps that’s why when comparing them it’s no contest. The good news is, there’s plenty of flavor there right now, just a lot masked by a piercing harshness.