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In June 2012, the the second of what would eventually become four cigars for the Brother of the Leaf forum, BOTL.org, was released through Podman Cigars, an online retail store started by forum member Tim Podwika.

Named the Drew Estate BOTL.org 2012, the inaugural release was a 7 x 38 lancero composed of a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper covering a Ecuadorian Connecticut shade binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. Only 3,000 cigars were produced with an MSRP of $12.95, with boxes of 15 selling for $194.25.

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Tim Podwika explained the history behind the release on his website:

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.

Here is what I said in my original review back in December 2012:

As you may or may not remember, I was not the biggest fan of the L40, as I thought it was missing something in the profile that would have put it over the top for me. Well, whatever the L40 was missing, the Drew Estate BOTL.org 2012 found—excellent flavors, excellent complexity, excellent construction, excellent vitola and excellent finish. There is quite a bit going on flavor wise for the entire smoke, but the profile is incredibly well balanced with each note very noticeable, albeit at different strengths. Drew Estate has released some amazing cigars this year and this stands head to head with the best of them. Unfortunately, they are long gone now, but are well worth tracking down if you can find them. Just a wonderful cigar all around.

While the Podman Cigars website is still up, Tim Podman hasn’t been publicly heard from in a while.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Drew Estate BOTL.org 2012
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $12.95 (Boxes of 15, $194.25)
  • Date Released: June 7, 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 15 Cigars (3,000 total cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1

Covered in a dark espresso brown wrapper that is exceedingly rough to the touch, the Drew Estate BOTL.org 2012 also exhibits quite a few obvious veins running up and down its length. There is very little oil present and the cigar is quite spongy when squeezed, almost to the point of distraction. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong cedar, leather, cinnamon, manure and barnyard, while the cold draw brings flavors of hay, aged cedar, espresso, dark chocolate and a touch of pepper.

The Drew Estate BOTL.org 2012 starts off with dominant earthy notes along with some very obvious fruity sweetness on both the palate and retrohale. Other flavors interspersed throughout the profile include dark cocoa, bitter espresso, leather, baker’s spices and almonds. There is some significant black pepper present in the retrohale from the beginning and while it does diminish a bit after the first third, it remains strong enough to the end of the cigar to easily affect the profile. The Drew Estate project gets noticeably better in the second half with more district flavors including baker’s spices, rich mocha coffee, bitter espresso, barnyard, peanuts, hay and the same dark fruity sweetness on the retrohale. There is a bit less pepper as well, which continues to recede until the end of the cigar.

Drew Estate BOTL org 2012

Construction-wise, the Drew Estate had an excellent draw from the entire cigar, giving me just the right amount of resistance and while the burn was far from razor sharp, I only had to touch it up twice. The smoke production is quite high as expected, but I recall it being more overwhelming the first time I reviewed it, while the overall strength was lucky to hit the medium mark. The final smoking time was right at one hour and 25 minutes.

89 Overall Score

I was concerned about how the Drew Estate BOTL.org 2012 would be smoking after almost three years of age, as I had not smoked one for at least a year. It turns out that while pretty much the same plethora of flavors were present in the profile—sans the Worcestershire sauce—they were noticeably muted compared to when the cigar was fresh. This to be expected for a three-year-old cigar, of course, but what I was surprised at most was the lack of any appreciable new flavors brought on by the age. This is still a very good cigar, but I am glad I smoked most of mine when they first came out.

Original Score (December 2012)
93
Redux Score (May 2015)
89

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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