As we near the end of 2013, you will begin to see many "Top" lists throughout the cigar community. The Cigar Federation team decided to attempt to do something a bit different. Each of the main reviewers on the site - Logan, Rob, Dustin, Jerad and John - has their own list, but we also wanted to see what a Cigar Federation Consolidated list would look like.
Over the next ten days (not including weekends), I will unveil another cigar in the Consolidated List. In the end, each of our reviewers will unveil their personal lists. How does your list match up? Without further adieu, I unveil #2 on our list - please check back tomorrow for #1!
#2 AKA Nth Degree
When I first reached out to the reviewers on Cigar Federation to supply me with their Top Cigars of 2013, I knew I'd have an eclectic grouping of cigars, but I had a pretty good idea of what would be included. I knew that we'd be very "boutique heavy" as that tends to be the nature of the site, but I assumed, considering no reviewer had any knowledge of how the other reviewers were ranking, that we'd have the Nomads and Ezra Zions and Crowned Heads of the world represented at the Top - after all, those are the brands and cigars that seem to get the most hype. For the most part, as you've seen in the lead up to this point, that's what we got. However, the biggest surprise of our countdown - at least from my perspective - is our #2 Cigar of 2013: the AKA Nth Degree!
The AKA crew wanted to create a more "traditional" or "old school" maduro when they set out to create this blend. Their belief was that the industry has been moving in the wrong direction of blending for strength and/or complexity and this has come at the expense of the flavor provided by the wrapper as many cigars end up overpowering the wrapper. The goal for the Nth Degree was to highlight the flavor of the wrapper by perfecting the "balance" of the cigar.
Blended in the Davidoff Factory in Danli, the AKA Nth Degree is AKA's first maduro offering that utilizes a 4-year aged San Andreas Broadleaf with a Dominican binder and Dominican, Peruvian and Honduran filler. According to what the guys told us on CigarChat, the leaf used for the wrapper is from the same grower that supplies Padron with their leaf - a benefit to AKA of working with Davidoff on this blend. The Nth Degree is advertised as a medium bodied cigar that is suitable for the novice smoker, but satisfying for the experienced smoker as it takes your palate to the "Nth Degree"!
"The San Andreas Broadleaf wrapper on the Nth Degree was a beautiful thing. It was a deep chocolate brown and smelled strongly of leather. The foot offered up notes of cocoa powder and dried leaves."
"The dark, chocolate brown wrapper has a matte, almost fuzzy appearance and looks great wrapped in the aqua and silver band."