The AKA Hybrid was the first blend released by Texas-based cigar manufacturer AKA Cigars. AKA Cigars stands for “American Kick Ass” Cigars. The company is run by Jay Lundy and Tom Poehler. Back in 2010, the company connected with Christian Eiroa who started working with them the Hybrid blend. This eventually led to collaboration resulted with Davidoff as a result of Davidoff acquiring Camacho Cigars. With the AKA Hybrid, the story around this cigar is definitely its unique hybrid-seed wrapper (thus where it gets its name). Recently, I recently had an opportunity to smoke this cigar. Not only did I find the AKA Hybrid to be an excellent cigar, but I also found this to be a unique cigar.
AKA Cigars was created with an American Patriotism theme in my toward the U.S. Armed Services. The company participates in giveback programs to the Wounded Warrior Project and Cigars for Warriors. The company has some edgy marketing and packaging of their products. They even have an innovative rewards program involving collecting back cigar bands in exchange for swag and discounts. From our initial experiences with the AKA Solace and now with the AKA Hybrid, the company is also committed to delivering a high quality product.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the AKA Hybrid is all about.
As we mentioned up front, the story of this cigar is the wrapper grown from the a hybrid seed.
Wrapper: True Hybrid Seed grown by Eiroa Family resulting from Cross Breeding Cameroon and 59 Cuban Seed Corojo
Binder: Dominican Ligero – 4 Year Aged by Kelner Family
Filler: 4 and 5 Year Aged Dominican Piloto Cubano and Honduran Tobaccos from the Kelner and Eiroa Families.
The AKA web-site tells the story of the Hybrid Seed wrapper:
We worked non-stop for about a year and a half on the Hybrid Blend. The Hybrid Blend took so long to develop because we wanted to create something Special and Unlike any other cigar on the market. The Hybrid is rolled at the Camacho/Davidoff factory in Danli Honduras. We are fortunate to be very good friends with Christian Eiroa and have know him for 15 years. Christian worked side by side with us on most all of our 8 trips to the factory in a year and a half span. It was on our trip back in September 2010 that Christian offered to let us use a Very Special 5 Year Aged Wrapper that his father “Don Julio Eiroa” had spent several years creating. This Special Hybrid Wrapper comes from the Cross-Breeding of Cameroon and 59 Cuban Seed Corojo Seeds. The Hybrid Wrapper is a “True Hybrid” , a “One Of A Kind” and is only grown for and used by AKA.
The AKA Hybrid has been launched in 8 sizes. Each of the sizes has an acronym name related to sensory perception.
RPM (Rapid Perception Multiplier): 4 1/2 x 42
DEA (Devine Euphoric Aroma): 4 1/2 x 52
ABS (Advanced Brain Stimulation): 6 x 44
DNA (Dynamic Nuero Accelerator) 5 1/2 x 50
CIA (Cerebral Impluse Activator): 7 x 38
ESP (Elevated Sensory Processor): 7 1/4 x 50
SOS (Source of Serenity): 6 1/2 x 54
MAD (Mind Altering Device): 6 x 60
For this cigar experience, I went with the robusto-sized DNA vitola. The wrapper of the AKA Hybrid is a medium brown color with a rosado-colored tint to it. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling that can be seen on the wrapper. There is also a slight amount of oil on the surface. The wrapper seams are pretty well hidden, but there are some visible wrapper veins.
There are two bands on the AKA Hybrid – both are red and chrome in color. The main band features the “AKA” logo in chrome font on a red background. The secondary band rests just below the primary band and has the text “HYBRID” in an edgy chrome-colored font on an red background. Both bands also have chrome trim around the edges.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the AKA Hybrid DNA, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. Once the cap was successfully clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw provided a mix of natural tobacco, cinnamon, light spice, and light cream notes. Overall I considered the pre-light draw to be excellent on the AKA Hybrid. At this point, I was ready to light up the Hybrid and see what the overall cigar experience would bring to the table.
The start of the AKA Hybrid delivered a shot of white pepper. This was joined by some natural tobacco notes. The pepper and natural tobacco flavors moved into the forefront early. Meanwhile notes of cream and a slight cherry syrup flavor surfaced in the background. Meanwhile on the retro-hale, I was detected a sweet spice.
By the ten percent mark, the cherry syrup sweetness blended with the natural tobacco notes in the forefront. The pepper receded to the background joining the cream notes. I also detected a slight cinnamon note on both the tongue and as part of the retro-hale.
Later in the first third, the natural tobacco flavor continued to be primary. Meanwhile the cherry syrup sweetness started to dial back. The pepper and cinnamon remained in the background. At the same time, the cream transitioned to more of a bready note.
In the second third, the bready notes moved into the forefront and were joined by some earth notes. The natural tobacco and cherry flavors receded into the background – joining the pepper and cinnamon.
By the last third the bread and earth notes were still in control. The pepper notes kicked back toward the forefront. Much of the sweetness had subsided. There was a slight amount of harshness as the cigar experience hit the final puffs. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The AKA Hybrid gets some nice scores when it comes to the construction attributes of burn and draw. The burn line remained relatively straight. Although there was a slight amount of jaggedness on the burn line, the burn still never was in any danger of canoeing or tunneling. The resulting ash was firm with a salt and pepper color. The ash would occasionally flake, but again nothing major. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal. There was also an ample amount of smoke generated from the AKA Hybrid.
|AKA Hybrid – Burn
The draw was outstanding This wasn’t a loose or tight draw. It made the AKA Hybrid an enjoyable cigar from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found the AKA Hybrid hit right in my sweet spot. It had enough pop to qualify as a medium to full strength cigar in my book. As for the body, the flavors were robust and had some depth. I liked the fact the flavors did not weigh “too heavy” on the pallet. I assessed the AKA Hybrid as a medium to full-bodied cigar in my book. When looking at strength versus body, neither attribute overshadows the other.
Back in October, I assessed the AKA Solace
, the Connecticut Shade offering from AKA Cigars and it impressed me. The AKA Hybrid was my second experience with AKA Cigars and this one also has really impressed me. I like the work these guys are doing with their blends. The big selling point of this cigar is the wrapper. Given that much of a cigar’s flavor comes from the wrapper, I can honestly say that the wrapper lived up to my expectations. The AKA Hybrid has a very different flavor profile in my book – and the flavors are excellent. This is probably a cigar I would steer to a more experienced cigar enthusiast as it is on the medium to full side. At the same time, I certainly would not discourage a novice from giving this a try. As for myself, this is a cigar I would seek out again – and it’s easily worth a box split in my book.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Source: Samples provided by manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
* The cigars for this assessment were given to Cigar Coop by AKA Cigars. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence the review.