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In 2012, Tatuaje shipped a very limited number of cigars named Little Boris to Florida-based Corona Cigar Co. as a store exclusive release. As the moniker indicates, the blend was the same as The Boris, a 7 x 49 double corona that was previously released in Tatuaje’ s Actor Series, a sister project to Tatauje’s famous Monster Series. Although the Actor Series was originally supposed to be made up of annual releases a la the Monster Series, The Boris—which was named after Boris Karloff, who played Frankenstein in the 1931 film of the same name—turned out to be the sole member of the Actor Series.

Limited to just 500 boxes of 10, the original release of the Little Boris in 2012 incorporated the same blend as its larger brother, namely an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper covering Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler and binder. While Tatuaje store exclusive releases were not exactly an unusual occurrence, the reason that Corona received this particular cigar was a bit more interesting than most, and was summed up at the time by Joey Whitiker, manager of Corona Cigar Company on Sand Lake:

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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.”

Fast forward to May 2018, when Tatuaje Cigars owner Pete Johnson confirmed that there would be a new version of the Little Boris released, although the cigars did not actually ship until November. However, while the size of the cigar and the blend may be the same, there are a number of differences between the original release and the newest version.

First, there are 1,500 boxes of 10 of the 2018 release compared to the 500 boxes of 10 of the 2012 release. Second, the price of each cigar increased slightly from $9 each to $10 each. Third, while the original release was only sold at Corona Cigar Co., 500 boxes of the rerelease of the Little Boris were sent to 20 “random retailers.” Finally, the bands on the cigars are different: while the original release featured a band with black text on a white background, the 2018 version features white text on a black background.

There have now been two different releases of the Little Boris.

  • Tatuaje Little Boris (2012) — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars) — $9 (Boxes of 10, $90)
  • Tatuaje Little Boris (2018) — 1,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (1,500 Total Cigars) — $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)

This is what I said in my review of the original Little Boris back in July 2012:

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 it’s 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.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Tatuaje Little Boris (2018)
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sumatra)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 49
  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • MSRP: $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)
  • Release Date: Nov. 9, 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

Since they are entirely different production more than five years apart, it is no surprise that the original release and new release of the Tatuaje Little Boris look a bit different visually. The new version is covered in a chocolate brown colored wrapper with a noticeable reddish tint that was lacking in the first release and is obviously more mottled as well. In addition, there are a number of extremely prominent veins running up and down the length of the cigar and it is very spongy when squeezed. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of peanut shells, sweet cedar, manure, barnyard, leather, dark chocolate and cinnamon while the cold draw brings flavors of cocoa powder, espresso beans, hay, cloves, cinnamon, leather, black pepper and a bit of spice on my tongue.

The Tatuaje Little Boris starts off with a bang immediately after lighting the foot, featuring a very familiar dominant flavor of Mexican hot chocolate, basically a combination of dark cocoa, cinnamon and cream. That combination was followed closely by other notes of peanuts, earth, bread, freshly roasted coffee and a touch of floral, along with a nice vanilla bean sweetness that only gets stronger in the second half. There is plenty of spice on my tongue in the first third as well as some significant black pepper on the retrohale, and while both recede quite a bit as the cigar burns down, they do stay strong enough to continue to impact the profile in a positive way until the end of the smoke. An interesting citrus note that reminds me of lemons shows up in the final third, but it is fleeting and disappears fairly quickly, never to be tasted again.

Construction-wise, the Tatuaje Little Boris gives me no issues whatsoever, including the ideal amount of resistance on the draw following a simple straight cut and a burn line that—while not razor sharp by any means—is never close to needing to be touched up. The smoke production is easily in the above average range, and while the overall strength starts out a bit milder than I remember from the first production, it easily hits a point just above the medium mark by the time I put the nub down one hour and 18 minutes later with less than an inch left.

Editor’s Note: While most of our redux reviews are based on cigars that we have been aging since the original review, this is based on a new cigar. We’ve expanded the redux category so that we can review and score new versions of cigars we’ve previously reviewed.

90 Overall Score

Rereleases of cigar blends have always fascinated me, especially when they are as legendary as a cigar like the Tatuaje Little Boris. The original release was one of my favorite of Tatuajes, due in large part to the wonderful Mexican hot chocolate note that was dominant in the profile, so I was looking forward to seeing how much of that flavor was in the new version. The answer to that question is a bit complicated: yes, that specific flavor is quite noticeable, but it is neither as distinct as I recall from the first time around, nor quite as complex. There was also an interesting—albeit fleeting—lemon citrus note that showed up in the final third that I don’t remember being in the profile of the original version. In the end, while I don’t think the new incarnation of the Little Boris is quite a good as the original when it was released, it is still one of the better cigars I have smoked in the past couple of months, and one that I can easily recommend buying for yourself if you can find them.

Original Score (July 2012)
93
Redux Score (February 2019)
90

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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