Cigar Review by Matt Zaccheo (guest)
Cigar Photography by Jay L (cigarphoto.net)
This week we are photographing and reviewing the BOTL 2013 – a corona gorda made by the Drew Estate for BOTL.org online community. The BOTL 2013, a follow-up to well received BOTL 2012 lancero (also made by the Drew Estate), was a limited run and was sold exclusively through online retailer Podman Cigars (* notice Podwika’s signature on the box).
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: ASP Ligero, Drew Estate Jalapa Ligero
Cut: Palio / Straight
# Cigars Smoked for Review: One
Prelight: Underneath the muted brown and cream BOTL band emerges some sexy! A quick look reveals a somewhat rough triple cap which is concealed quite well by the dark and mottled appearance of the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper: classic spectral shades of brown and inky black with seductive subtle reddish hues. There is a uniform fine tooth and no real appreciable oils. The seams are tight, the pack is very firm, and there is one large palpable vein running the length of the cigar. Off the wrapper … straight tobacco and barnyard. Off the foot… it’s raisin, plum, molasses and dark chocolate … very sweet. The cold draw delivers raisin, milk chocolate and a touch of pepper.
Draw: perfect, comfortable and even throughout. I was a bit concerned prior to the cut/light, as the cigar felt very densely packed.
Flavors: On the first few draws, I was struck with a big pepper blast that hits hard and then almost immediately fades out and lingers toward the back of the palate. There is a core of earth, dark chocolate, and very mild cedar that emerge. The opening is a little sharp and astringent: I get red chile/cayenne on the tip of my tongue and black pepper on the back of the palate and the retro. There is massive smoke … classic DE and very Liga-esque. The initial intense spice is drying on the palate. As I get a bit further into the 1st third, the cedar becomes more evident and there is a sweetness starting to emerge, but my tongue is still a little spice shocked and won’t let it develop in it’s entirety. Just prior to hitting the 2nd third, the acidic/zesty chile and the ruddy/bold black pepper finally find balance with a rich molasses sweetness … and the transition gives up wonderful cinnamon notes that complement the dark chocolate and mild cedar perfectly. Into the 2nd third, the spice on the back of the palate fades out completely. The strength and natural sweetness of the broadleaf are in full effect now. The smoke has become much denser and creamier on the palate. Cinnamon, black tea, and rich coffee notes act to accent a solid core of dark chocolate, mild cedar, and that gritty Broadleaf sweetness. The final third is wonderful: cinnamon, cedar and chocolate. The spice is a distant memory…the smoke is creamy and rich with a huge mouth feel. Overall, the body and strength remained medium plus/full minus throughout.
Burn: A little wavy at times, but straightened out on its own with only one minor touch up. The ash was a ribbed white/grey: dense, tight, and solid.
Construction: Excellent throughout
Descriptive Adjectives: Mayan Hot Chocolate!
Box worthy: Start scouring the secondary market. Should age very well.
Overall: Initial intense diverging spices marry with an escalating sweetness to allow distinct balanced transitions. A bit of a roller-coaster! It was like Santa Fe collided with Hershey Pa!