In July of 2010, Pinar Del Río released 4,000 cigars for the BOTL.org (Brothers of the Leaf) forum. Dubbed the Pinar Del Río BOTL.org Small Batch 2010, the cigar was sold at Burning Leaf Cigars in Illinois, a store forum user Tim Podwika worked at.
In 2011, Podwika left the store to start Podman Cigars. He had been working on a Lancero blend at Drew Estate for quite a while. We first heard of it almost two years ago, when it was code named the “TP-1,” but we never knew what the blend was until it was formally announced that it was going to be the 2012 BOTL.org release. Only 200 boxes of 15 were produced with each box costing $194.25.
Says Tim Podwika on the PodmanCigars.com 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.
There have now been two releases for the BOTL.org forum. They are:
- Pinar Del Río BOTL.org Small Batch 2010 (6 x 46) — $6.25 (Boxes of 20, $120.00) — 200 Boxes of 20 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
- Drew Estate BOTL.org (7 x 38) — $12.95 (Boxes of 15, $194.25) — 200 Boxes of 15 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
The boxes that the Drew Estate BOTL 2012 come in look like this:
- 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 Review: 6
The cigar itself is well rolled with an imposing wrapper that is close to black in color with a copious amount of oil present. There is a great amount of give when squeezed and the wrapper smells very strongly of sweet barnyard, cedar, leather and black pepper.
The Lancero starts out the first third with sweet cedar, creamy leather, espresso and chocolate. The profile is astoundingly earthy and gritty all at once, not in a bad way, but in a way that really compliments the blend. There is a bit of sweetness in the background that I cannot place yet, just itching to get out and I am really hoping it gets stronger as it continues down. Even for a typical high-end Drew Estate cigar, smoke production is astounding, some of the most dense and blue I have seen. Both burn and draw are perfect from the start and that does not seem to be changing anytime soon. The overall strength starts out stronger then I would think and ends the first third at a solid medium.
Coming into the second third of the BOTL.org 2012 and the sweetness in the profile has morphed a bit, until it has the distinct flavor of worcestershire: sweet, tangy and sharp all at once, a very interesting note. Other flavors of bitter espresso, gritty earth, leather are mixed in as well. Interestingly, the chocolate note from the first third has shifted to more of a baking cocoa note—less sweet. Construction remains excellent–both burn and draw are giving me no problems whatsoever. The strength has bumped up to a strong medium and I know it is going to go increase before the cigar is done.
The final third of the BOTL Lancero continues the trend from the first two thirds with a wonderful combination of cherry sweetness, worcestershire tanginess, bitter espresso, cocoa and creamy earth. The construction finishes the way it starts: perfect. Overall strength ends just slightly below the full mark, but it is an easy cigar to nub, and stayed cool to the very end every time.
- Just in case it was not obvious, the “TP” in the “TP-1” preproduction cigar stood for Tim Podwika.
- The box these come in is well made and is heavy as hell. I also absolutely love the fact that the blend of the cigar is printed on the outside lid. However, I would have loved to see box have numbers on each box considering there was only 200 of them.
- The boxes for the Drew Estate BOTL.org 2012 were designed by Jonathan Drew and Jessi Flores.
- The smoke production is astounding, shocking even for a Drew Estate product. This is most likely due to the wrapper, which is the same as is used on the Feral Flying Pig. Just putting it down and watching the smoke roll off of it is fun to watch. PHOTO
- I really did like the PDR BOTL.org release in 2010, and thought it was one of their best blends I have tasted, especially at the price of just over $6.00 per stick.
- Unlike the PDR, which required a bit of pushing from Podwika, the Drew Estate BOTL.org sold out quick.
- The band matches the wrapper almost too well. It seems to blend in with the color of the wrapper a bit and is quite rustic in appearance. Simple, but extremely well-made with raised lettering. It does kind of remind me of an old Cubao band when seen from a distance, however.
- I find it interesting that this is not a Liga Privada product and in fact, the words Liga Privada are seen nowhere on the band or the box.
- Drew Estate previously did a custom blend for another retailer, Tobacco World. Much like the BOTL.org 2012, the Double Signature Reserve was also not marketed as a Liga Privada. The reasoning behind this is because of the company’s protectiveness with the Liga Privada brand.
- This is the perfect cigar to blow smoke rings with.
- On all of the samples that I smoked the construction is absolutely phenomenal for the entire smoke. You could literally not ask for better burn or draw.
- The official line on this blend is that it is medium to medium full, but I have found it to be closer to the full mark then they would have you believe. Full-bodied, just under full strength.
- In my opinion, this is a much better cigar overall than the Único Serie L40: much more complex and with better flavors.
- There is some belief amongst the early L40 doubters, including Charlie, that the cigar has gotten better. I haven’t smoked one in a while.
- Disclosure: Drew Estate is a site sponsor.
- The final smoking time for all samples smoked averaged around one hour and 35 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Drew Estate BOTL.org 2012 cigars, your only bet at this point is the secondary market. Expect to pay about $15-$17 each.
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.