The Boris seems to be an adopted member of the Tatuaje Monster Series – while it’s listed on the same page as the others, it doesn’t get nearly the same description, nor is it named for a movie monster. Rather, it’s named for Boris Karloff, the actor who played Frankenstein’s Monster, the monster referenced in the first Monster Series release, The Frank. Pete Johnson describes the Boris as “Frank out of costume.”
Fittingly, the Boris looks like the Frank, though it’s a bit shorter and seems to have a bit bigger ring gauge. Johnson lists the cigars as both having 49 ring gauges on the website, while the Boris is ½” shorter than the Frank. The cigar debuted in 2009, along with the Drac, which was recently reviewed.
It has a fairly uniform feel, though there are spots around the head of the cigar and just under the band that feel a bit softer, while the foot in particular feels a bit firmer than the rest of the stick. It has held up wonderfully since being purchased in October 2009,
The process of smoking each of these cigars within hours of one another really affords the opportunity to see just how different they are. The pre-light aroma on the Boris is fairly light and almost crisp, with notes of green apple and hay leading the way. The cold draw is spot on – just a bit of resistance but no impedance to the air flow. Flavors are mild, but there’s a distinct spice that comes through and hits the back of the throat.
The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Sumatra, while the binder and filler are both Nicaraguan. Johnson lists the cigar having four-out-of-five strength.
The first puffs have a leading note of spice – not so much black pepper, but a cinnamon and clove note that pairs well with the memories of the apple on the pre-light aroma. There’s no problem getting the cigar going, with air moving freely and generating a nice amount of smoke.
About an inch in, the spice has moved to the background, giving the palate a bit of a respite with a creamy smoke highlighted by just a touch of wood.
The ash wasn’t terribly strong, dropping off fairly easily just about an inch into the cigar.
Much like the Frank, if this was originally a four on Johnson’s strength meter, much of it has faded away with time. There is still some there, a bit of pepper that mixes in with the creaminess of the smoke, but this is by no means a pepper bomb. Unlike the Frank, which seemed to be in decline as far as flavor and strength, the Boris seems to be at a great age for enjoyment. The spice and pepper are present but subdued, allowing the subtle nuances of the cigar to shine through. Notes of wood float across the palate around the midpoint, with the apple notes from the first few puffs long gone.
In the second half, the Boris had a fairly difficult time staying lit – while it produced adequate amounts of flavorful smoke and burned fairly well when ignited, it seemed to put itself out within seconds of being put down. As mentioned earlier, there are definite soft spots in this part of the cigar, which certainly could have been a factor – either way it was a drastic change in performance from the first half.
Once the cigar band comes off, it unleashes a good amount of spice that is particularly noticeable in the nose. What the cigar had lacked up to this point as far as strength and spice is certainly being made up for in these final inches.
The final third of the Boris is quite impressive – meaty with some pepper leading the charge of a much more robust smoke than was seen in the first two thirds. Age has certainly not slowed this final third, giving it a strong finish that gives the cigar a near 180-degree turn from where it started.
It’s not fair to compare the Boris and the Frank, but the Boris certainly tastes much better than the Frank did. While it’s lost a good bit of the strength, it finishes strong and provides a really engaging sense of transition. If only the cigar didn’t have the combustion issues, it would be hard not to call it a five star cigar. For now, four-and-a-half seems to be fair.
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