Surrogates AKC Debuting This Week (Update)


This week there will be a new member to the Surrogates line released, the AKC.

The cigar is a nod to Dan Welsh’s dog, Kenji, who passed away earlier this year. As Welsh explained, the dog was a “Mastador,” a mix of Mastiff and Labrador, a breed that is not recognized by the American Kennel Club. As such, the idea to use AKC was born, and “when I realized that it could also stand for ‘A Kenji Cigar,’ it was set in stone,” he added.


The blend is described as full-bodied and features a Mexican San Andrés wrapper that Welsh said reminded him of Kenji’s brindle coloring. Underneath that is a dual binder of two Nicaraguan binders while the filler is all Nicaraguan. Welsh told halfwheel that he wanted the cigar to be the fullest in the Surrogates portfolio, and he believes that goal has been achieved, adding that it has become his new daily cigar.

It is offered in a 5 x 55 a robusto gordo vitola and is finished with a fuma head, while MSRP is set at $10 per cigar and $200 for a box of 20. The cigar is produced at My Father Cigars S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua.

Additionally, the cigar is designed to poke some fun at the Surrogates brand by making this cigar an actual limited production. While the company has often made cigars in the style of limited editions, they have all been regular productions.

A limited number of boxes are currently on sale via, where the Surrogates line was created when Kenji was just about a year or two old, and is slated to begin shipping on Wednesday. It will then be available at Surrogates events as well as at what the company calls “AKC Registered” Surrogates accounts, stores that host the events and support the brand. The number of those events and subsequent orders will determine how many cigars are ultimately produced.

If the backstory sounds familiar, Pete Johnson has named a number of cigars in his Tatuaje portfolio for dogs that he has owned. Johnson is also one of the co-founders of L’Atelier Imports.

The announcement came by way of, whose owner, Dan Welsh, is also part of L’Atelier Imports and the Surrogates line. Welsh has not yet replied to messages seeking additional information about the cigar.

Update (Nov. 26, 2019) — Added information regarding the binder and factory, as well as additional information about production numbers.

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I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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