|AKA Respect 2013 – Hooah|
The AKA Respect line was the second line introduced by AKA Cigars back in 2011. The Respect line was introduced as a vintage line with the idea of the blend changing every one to two years. In 2013, the company released its second iteration of the AKA Respect line – the AKA Respect 2013. Over the past several weeks, we have featured other cigars from AKA (Solace, Hybrid). I personally have found this to be a company that is doing some excellent work – and the AKA Respect continues in that tradition as this delivers an excellent cigar experience.
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 AKA Hybrid blend. This eventually led to collaboration resulted with Davidoff as a result of Davidoff acquiring Camacho Cigars. The company itself was created with an American Patriotism theme in my toward the U.S. Armed Services. In fact, a portion of the sales of the AKA Respect 2013 goes to the Wounded Warrior Project. 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.
Without further ado, let’s break down the AKA Respect 2013 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
A big change from the original AKA Respect 2013 is on the wrapper. The original one used a Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. This one uses a Criollo wrapper.
Wrapper: 5 Year Aged Criollo Ligero
AKA Cigars has typically given each of its vitolas custom names. The Respect 2013 line is no exception as the names pay homage to the four branches of the Armed Forces.
All cigars come in 18 count boxes except Taps (24 count box) and 3-Volley Salute (21 count box)
For this cigar experience, I smoked the robusto sized AKA Respect 2013 Hooah. The criollo wrapper of this cigar has a rich coffee bean color with a slight colorado tent mixed in. Upon closer examination some darker marbling can be seen. There also is a slight amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper. There are also a few visible veins and a few visible wrapper seams.
There are three bands on the AKA Respect 2013 – both are black and chrome in color. The main band features the “AKA” logo in chrome font on a black background. The secondary band rests just below the primary band and has the text “ RESPECT” in an edgy chrome-colored font on an black background. The third band is on the footer and has the text “2013” in chrome font on a black background. All three bands also have chrome trim around the edges.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my AKA Respect 2013 Hooah, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to begin things. Once the cap was successfully removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw provided a mix of coffee, cedar sweet-spiace, and earth. Overall I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw. At this point, I removed the footer band of the AKA Respect 2013 Hooah, lit up the cigar and awaited what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start of the AKA Respect 2013 started with a moderate, but not overpowering blast of white pepper. As the pepper subsided, a rich coffee note emerged in the forefront. The white pepper became a close secondary note. In the background I picked up a wood-like note. The white pepper could also be detected on the retro-hale – and remained that way throughout the smoking experience.
Throughout the first half the coffee notes remained in the forefront. The white pepper was a more distant pepper note. I also detected some cherry sweetness and while this remained in the background, there were times I thought it would move to the forefront. The wood notes behaved in a similar matter – at times they were more distant in the background and other times I thought they were closer to the forefront.
By the second half, the wood notes moved into the forefront and were joined by some earth notes. The coffee notes had now receded into the background – joining the pepper and cherry notes. For the most part this is the way the flavor profile remained until the end. There was a slight increase in the white pepper, but it was not at the expense of the other flavors. The resulting nub was cool in temperature but soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
My experience across all of the AKA Cigar lines is that the cigars are extremely well-made (no surprise from the Davidoff connection). The AKA Respect 2013 is no exception. From a burn standpoint, the burn line remained relatively straight. The cigar did require a few touch-ups along the way, but for the most part the burn remained straight. The resulting ash was a silvery gray with some darker steaks mixed in it. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the AKA Respect 2013|
The draw performed admirably as well. It was not too tight and not too the loose. It made the AKA Respect 2013 an enjoyable cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I did not find the AKA Respect 2013 to be a nicotine bomb. Overall I assessed this cigar to be at medium strength from start to finish. In terms of the depth of the flavors, I found them to provide some decent weight on the pallet – I assessed this cigar as being medium to full-bodied for the first two thirds. Toward the last third, the flavors skewed toward the full-bodied side. In terms of strength versus body, the body will have the edge on the AKA Respect 2013.
One important point is that I have not smoked the original AKA Respect that was released in 2011, so I do not have a baseline to compare it against. One point I can make is that I was extremely impressed with the AKA Respect 2013. This is the third AKA cigar I have smoked in the line (the lone exception is the AKA Nth Degree). I have always said if you have three solid smokes from a company, you can build a brand in a humidor – and this is exactly what you get with AKA Cigars. The AKA Respect 2013 delivers some very nice flavors from start to finish. I’d recommend this cigar to either the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again – and its definitely worthy of a box split in my book.
Body: Medium to Full (1st 2/3), Full (Last third)
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
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.