Today is a rather special day for me, I decided to celebrate it with a very special cigar - the Drew Estate Brothers of the Leaf 2012 Limited Edition Cigar! :D
The quick and dirty: What can I say? This is an _EXCELLENT_ cigar! It's been sitting in my humidor since it arrived just under a month ago at 65% RH (my Cubans don't like being too wet). It's a full strength full bodied cigar, so definitely not something for new smokers. Complex smoke with a savoury flavour and notes of cherry. Very smooth with thick voluminous smoke. Easily a 92/100.
If you didn't manage to get any, I strongly recommend that you hunt the BnS sections of every forum and buy one NOW! Of course as someone who has professed his love for Nicaraguan smokes several times, you might want to take that with a pinch of salt. But still...
Now for the details.
The DE BOTL 2012 has a broadleaf Connecticut wrapper with an Ecuadorian Connecticut shade binder and Nicaraguan filler. Very tight seams and the cap is so well merged that I can't quite tell if it's a double or triple cap. Almost no appreciable veins. Very firmly packed with some slight give near the band. The draw had some resistance but was basically perfect. The wrapper and foot smelled sweet like dried prunes. Very pleasant. Other people have called it "black cherry", but never having tasted something that exotic, I settle for prunes.
Pre-light draw gave hints of top-notch tobacco, with more of that very nice prune flavour.
The burn was slightly wavy but otherwise perfect, not requiring any touch-up or relighting.
Opening and 1/3:
The opening surprised me a bit. The first few draws tasted of absolutely _nothing_. I was a bit disappointed at first, but within 4 or 5 puffs the cigar soon climbed in flavor. The first third was dominated by leather and some pepper, and a nice savoury flavour that reminded me of a really good Margherita pizza. There was some hint of chocolate in the background, but very light.
The smoke output on this thing was insane. To get an idea, watch a video of something being dipped into liquid helium, and look at the vapour that comes off. It's A LOT like that! The cherry burned a bright red throughout.
This is definitely not a cigar that you'd want to smoke indoors. I personally prefer a cigar that barely produces any smoke when I'm not drawing on it, but that's just a personal opinion. The smoke pouring (yes, pouring, not drifting) over my fingers was warm, but the body of the cigar itself was very cool up to almost over the cherry.
Retrohale was peppery with notes of leather and some wood. The smoke was very rich and oily. As Bryan Glynn of Cigar Obsession (moderators: This is a cigar review site, not a vendor, so please don't ban me!) is fond of saying: It's got a very long finish. Very long. I took a sip of water every now and then to refresh my palette because the smoke just coats it.
I purged the cigar every 4 or 5 puffs and this is known to wreck the integrity of the ash, but the ash held on for over an inch before falling off. The ash was almost pure white, which some reviewers I've read say that it shows the top quality of the tobacco used.
Towards the end of the first third and the start of the second, notes of cherry started to creep in. The flavors are still dominated by leather and spice, but have since gotten progressively stronger. There was barely any chocolate, and if was there it remained pretty much in the background. The smoke has also gotten slightly sweet, which I always appreciate.
Notes of damp earth have creeped in, together with stronger hints of cherry and tobacco. I really liked the cherry flavours and it's not like anything I've ever smoked before. Very nice! It's very different from everything else I've smoked that largely had flavours of latte or chocolate. Retrohaling at this point was way too peppery so I stopped.
I smoked this baby to the final 3/4", and throughout the entire experience the cigar never once got harsh. No bitter flavors, no scratchy throat, nothing. Total smoking time was about 90 minutes.
I rank the cigar as a 92 as mentioned earlier, and it is definitely a full-strength full-flavour cigar.
I actually regretted smoking this early in the morning after a light breakfast. I still have a nicotine rush as I am typing this. That said, as with any excellent cigar the strength was felt completely in the stomach and never in the throat. At least one online reviewer didn't really like this stick, essentially saying that the flavours were a bit blah - I have no idea what he's talking about. He smoked it ROTT so maybe it just needed some time in the humidor.
I'd like to congratulate Drew Estate, BOTL and Tim Podman for bringing us this excellent smoke. Definitely a fitting smoke for a special day. Kudos to everyone involved in this project!
The cigars sold out fairly quickly so I'm sure that many of you here have had a lot of experience with it, and I'd really love to hear from you!
Edit: Please pardon my unusually strange syntax - typing with a nicotine rush has its hazards.