In 2008, Pete Johnson announced his first Monster Series release, The Frank, named after the movie monster of the 1931 classic film. After the fanfare that release attracted, Pete announced another release, the so called Actors Series, which was supposedly going to be another line, each one named after the film star that played in the monsters movies in the first place.
The first and only release in the Actors Series was The Boris, named after Boris Karloff, who played Frankenstein in the 1931 film of the same name. The Boris were about as different in just about every way possible to The Frank release: 10 count boxes instead of 13, basic white boxes instead of a coffin, Sumatra wrapper instead of Broadleaf, white bands instead of green, etc. Only 1,000 boxes of 10 cigars were released of the original The Boris, which measure 7 x 49.
Rumors of a smaller The Boris have existed for years, but it was always known that it would be an exclusive release for Jeff Borysiewicz’s Corona Cigar Company in Orlando, Florida. The reason that Corona gets the exclusive release is summed up by Joey Whitiker, manager of Corona Cigar Company on Sand Lake:
This is a private release for Corona per an agreement between Jeff and Pete. Pete wanted the name Boris but Jeff already had “ownership” of the name for another cigar that Corona does called “Boris 11.” Pete called Jeff and asked “can I use the name Boris” Jeff said “okay, if you will do a private release for Corona.” Pete said, “done.”
The first, and as of now only release, of the Little Boris was 500 boxes of 10.
- Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Little Boris
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 49
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- MSRP: $9.00 (Boxes of 10, $90.00)
- Date Released: July 5, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 6
The Little Boris is great looking cigar with a medium chocolate brown wrapper almost totally devoid of veins. It has a seemingly perfect triple cap and gives a great give when squeezed—perhaps just a bit hard. The Sumatra wrapper is neither rough nor smooth—sort of in between those two descriptions, feeling almost like really old, dry leather that used to be supple. There an aroma of a strong of barnyard, sweet cedar, manure and a little black pepper.
The first third of the Little Boris starts out with the absolutely perfect amount of spice on the tongue—along with intense flavors of sweet wood, leather, milk chocolate and coffee. The finish is absolutely amazing and the profile is almost equal parts sweet, creamy and spicy. In fact, along with the milk chocolate note, I am reminded strongly of spicy chocolate bars. There is just a touch of white pepper on the retrohale, and it comes and goes throughout the first third. Strength starts out at slightly less than medium, and is increasing, but slowly. Construction is perfect, and the ash waits for about 1 1/2 inches before falling for the first time.
Coming into the second third of the Little Boris and the profile stays creamy and spicy overall, although the spice does mellow out a tad bit around the halfway point before picking up again near the start of the final third. The flavors are distinct: still that wonderful spicy chocolate on top with nuts, cedar, coffee and cinnamon. There is also a great sweet floral note that ebbs and flows throughout the third that was not present before, but at this point, it is not strong enough to really impact the profile. Construction remains excellent, and the strength continues to build, ending at a very strong Medium by the end of the second third.
The final third of the Tatuaje Little Boris sees some major shifts. The minor sweet floral note from the second third explodes, becoming the dominant flavor for much of the final third, while the strength also bumps up a notch, ending just shy of the full mark. Other flavors are still roaming in and out, most notably creamy nuts, espresso, and earth. The spicy chocolate note that dominated the first two thirds is still around, but much reduced, although the spice is still very much in evidence. Still a bit of white pepper on the retrohale as well, and the construction ends the same as it began: wonderful. The cigar did get a bit hot at the end, but I was still able to nub it fairly easily.
- For those of you wondering, Pete has said and written multiple times that he does not consider The Boris to be a part of the Monster Series. In addition, the idea behind the Little Boris was announced prior to the announcement of the Little Monsters and was already promised to Borysiewicz.
- $1 of every Little Boris sold goes straight to Cigar Rights of America.
- Having said that, observant people have pointed out that The Boris is actually listed in line with the Monster releases on Tatuaje’s own website for some unknown reason.
- Interestingly, although every review I have seen of The Boris says that the length is seven inches, the Tatuaje website says it is 7 1/8 inches. For what it is worth, I actually measured each and every one of the five originals I have in my possession at the moment and they all measure exactly seven inches long.
- Assuming that The Boris is seven inches long, that means that the only difference in size between the Little Boris and the original Boris is 1 1/2 inches, since they share the same RG.
- I have said it before, but it bears repeating: The bands on the Exclusive Series are extremely hit or miss in terms of how good they look—and heavily dependent on what is printed inside the white circle. When it works, it looks awesome, like the TAA 2011, but when it is just a name—it seems almost chintzy looking like it does here.
- Before the cigars were ever released, Jeff Borysiewicz asked for a second release, similar to the wet pack concept of the Tatuaje Tobacco Plaza DD. Recently, Corona Cigar Co. put a survey online here asking whether or not people would buy a box from the second release to “judge interest.” As of late Monday, the results are 87% to 13% in favor. Pete himself has mulled the release even publicly, posting on his Facebook and Twitter accounts last night, “Curious to get feedback on a possible second run of Little Boris. Not if it will sell but if people are okay with a second release. ? LMK”
- The construction on each and every one of these was nothing short of phenomenal. I never had a problem with draw or burn, and the first ash was routinely more than one and a half inches in.
- Interestingly, I did not detect any mint notes in any of the samples I smoked for this review, one of the main reasons I loved The Boris release. That does not surprise me at all, since it uses tobacco from totally different years. What did surprise me is that I love the Little Boris almost as much as the original, even without that signature note in it.
- It has always amused me that of the two releases, The Frank gets the vast majority of the press, while it is generally believed that The Boris is the cigar that has aged the best.
- The spicy chocolate note that was so prevalent in the profile reminded me strongly of one of my favorite snacks, Chuao Chocolate Bar – Spicy Maya. You may also recall that I tasted this flavor in my review of the Casa Magna Domus Magnus Optimus.
- I also noticed that same sweet floral note that I have tasted in almost all of Tatuaje’s Capa Especial releases, which all use the same wrapper, including the NHC Capa Especial, the Bombazo Capa Especial and The Wolfman. Interestingly, I didn’t get it in the Cojonu 2012 Capa Especial.
- In case you were wondering, no that is not a typo, I did in fact smoke more than half a box of Little Boris in preparation for this review.
- Like The Boris, I think the Little Boris will age extremely well—especially if there is a release wet packed in foil, hint, hint.
- The Little Boris is easily stronger than The Boris, especially at the end of the cigar.
- All samples were very consistent other than the first one, which had construction problems and flavor issues due to being right off the truck. As time went on, the samples got better and better, smoked one a day for six days or so.
- Like the Little Monsters—smoke slowly.
- The final smoking time for all six samples was right around one hour and 25 minutes.
- Corona Cigar Company is the only place that you could get the Tatuaje Little Boris, but as of the date of this review, they are officially sold out.
The first questions you are probably asking are some combination of: is this as good/does it taste like The Boris? The answer to the first question is yes, and the answer to the second is not really. I absolutely loved The Boris, which has only gotten better with time, unlike The Frank, but the Little Boris has very little in common with its bigger brother. There is quite a bit more spice throughout the smoke, it has a stronger profile overall and the main flavor I was tasting, spicy chocolate, was nowhere to be found in The Boris. On the flip side, the mint flavor that is such a large part of The Boris is almost totally missing from the smaller version. They are both wonderful in their own way, but the Little Boris is extremely complex, fairly strong and well balanced with fabulous construction on all samples. This is easily one of the best cigars has released this year, and that is saying something. If there is a rerelease, I would buy all you can.