BOTL™LE2013 Corona Gorda

The BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda is one of three ultra limited release vitolas released by Drew Estate for the online forum Brothers of the Leaf (BOTL.org). The cigars have been distributed through Tim Podwika’s online store Podmancigars.com. The cigar was a project of Podwika’s that started while he visited Drew Estate on its Cigar Safari tour.  This project eventually turned into the BOTL™ project. It was originally released as a lancero in 2012 (BOTL™ LE2012).  It was re-released in 2013 in two additional frontmarks, a Corona Gorda and Corona (BOTL™LE2013) were released.  All three sizes were small batch, limited production and have sold rather quickly.  Today, I take a look at the Corona Gorda.  Overall, this was a cigar that really surprised me – as it turned out to be an outstanding cigar.

On the podmancigars.com web-site, some background information is provided on the project:

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 (Jonathan Drew) and Nicholas (Melillo) 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 7 X3 8. 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. I hope you will all enjoy what I think is a very tasty cigar.

Blend Profile

Wrapper: Broadleaf (Same wrapper as on the Feral Flying Pig)
Binder: Connecticut Ecuador
Filler: ASP Ligero, Drew Estate Jalapa Ligero
In terms of the fillers, Melillo saysASP ligero is almost impossible to get and one of the most powerful and flavorful ligeros in the world.  DE (Drew Estate) 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.”


Vitolas Available

There were 100 boxes of 15 produced of the 2013 BOTL™LE2013 Corona Gorda.  For completeness we listed all the  BOTL™ vitolas.  

2013 BOTL™:  6 x 46 (Corona Gorda)
2013 BOTL™:  5 1/4 x 42 (Corona)
2012 BOTL™ : 7 x 38 (Lancero)
Appearance

The Broadleaf wrapper of the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda has rich chocolate color.  Upon closer examination, some darker marbling could be seen.  I would definitely categorize this wrapper as having an oily complexion.  There are some visible veins, but the dark wrapper color and oils do a nice job had hiding the wrapper seams.

The band to the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda has a brown background with white font.  The brown color almost blends in with the wrapper’s chocolate color.  Prominently on the front is the “BOTL™” acronym.  Below the acronym is the text of what the acronym represents – “BROTHERS OF THE LEAF”.  On each side of the “BOTL™” acronym is the text “2013”.  To the far right is the Drew Estate logo.  The remainder of the band has white adornments to it.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoking experience of the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda, I went with my usual selection of a straight cut.  Once I clipped the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw notes provided me a mix of espresso, earth, and maduro sweetness.  There was also a light spice I detected on the dry draw.  Overall, I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw of the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda.  At this point, I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the next phase would deliver.

Flavor Profile

I didn’t find the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda to undergo a lot of flavor transitions, but I did find it to have excellent flavors that balance each other very nicely.

The start to the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda provided a shot of pepper to start.  The pepper settled down and was joined by some cocoa and espresso notes.  These pepper notes developed into more of a red pepper flavor as the cigar progressed through the first third.  The pepper was also sharp on the retro-hale.  The cocoa, espresso, and red pepper were all even as primary flavors.  In the background and on the finish, I picked up a creamy note.

For the most part, the flavors above moved in and out with different permutations as to which was the primary/dominant flavor.  The cream was the one constant in the background.  The cigar remained flavorful right until the end.  The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

From a burn standpoint, the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda scores very nicely.  For the most part the burn line needed little in the way of maintenance / touch-ups to keep on the straight path. There was a slight curviness to the burn line, but wasn’t in danger of canoeing or tunneling. The resulting ash was tight with had a mostly white color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of  the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda 

Overall I found the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda had an excellent draw. It produced abundant smoke, but was not on the loose side.  It made this cigar an enjoyable smoking experience.

Strength and Body

Since the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda sold out quickly when it was released in June, I can infer that this cigar had a minimum of six to seven months of age on it when I smoked it.  Despite the age, I found this cigar to have plenty of fire-power.  It’s a cigar where you will feel the kick and the flavors will weight heavy on the pallet.  I assessed this cigar as being a full strength and full-bodied smoke from start to finish.  This cigar is an excellent example of delivering a lot of strength, but at the same time – delivering a lot of flavor.  Both the strength and body countered each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.

Final Thoughts

While I wouldn’t call this the most overly complex cigar, I was extremely impressed with the BOTL™ LE2013 Corona Gorda cigar .   I would not hesitate to put these along side some my Liga Privada cigars in the humidor.  While I have yet to smoke the other two sizes of this blend, my gut tells me that the Corona Gorda is going to be what I term my “perfect storm” (i.e. the right size for the right blend).  Given this cigar is on the full side, I would only recommend this to a more experienced cigar enthusiast.  As for myself, if this cigar becomes available, it is one I would seek out a box of.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Low
Strength: Full
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 92

References

Price: $180.00 per box of 15
Source: Gifted (Thanks ATL)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 81
Stogie Feed: BOTL LE2013 Corona Gorda by Drew Estate