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Cigar Insider: Kinky Friedman of Kinky Friedman Cigars

23 Oct 2007

Kinky Freidman is a uniquely American character.

As a singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, and politician, Kinky follows in the same line as American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain. His band, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, has had hits with such distinctly un-politically correct songs as “Get your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed” and “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore.”

Kinky Friedman CigarIn 2006 Kinky ran for Governor of Texas as an independent candidate, stating that his administration would make its goal the “dewussification” of Texas. Some of his campaign slogans were: “How hard could it be?”, “Why the hell not?”, “My governor is a Jewish cowboy”, and “He ain’t Kinky, he’s my governor.”

On the campaign trail, Kinky was often seen with a cigar he is known for his love of Cubans and he promised to roll back “any and all smoking bans” if elected, often repeating Mark Twain’s saying: “If smoking is not allowed in heaven, I shall not go.” Ultimately, he won 12.6 percent of the vote.

This year Kinky is rolling out his own cigar line: Kinky Friedman Cigars. (Look for a review of the torpedo-shaped “Kinkycristo” in an upcoming StogieGuys.com article.)

In this special edition of our Cigar Insider series, I talked cigars and politics with the one and only Kinky Friedman.

SG: How long have you been enjoying cigars? Do you remember your first smoke?

KF: I’ve been smoking cigars since Christ was a cowboy. Started so young I used a cigar as a pacifier. Come to think of it, I still do.

SG: You are known for your enjoyment of cigars from that certain island south of Miami. What do you think makes Cuban cigars so special?

KF: Cuban cigars are special because Cubans have been cultivating their soil and their art way before Castro started arresting librarians. The only cigars that can match them are Honduran cigars made by Cubans.

SG: With so many quality smokes out there, why did you decide to make your own cigars? Can you tell us a bit about how you chose the tobacco?

KF: It’s simply not a financial pleasure to smoke eight or more Cuban cigars a day at current market prices the only thing to avoid pecuniary calamity seemed to be start my own cigar line. But they had to be good enough to satisfy my pallet or I knew I’d be right back on the Cubans. That’s precisely what Kinky Friedman Cigars are all about: a cigar that I’d be happy to smoke that’s not Cuban. (These rated an optimum score on Kinky’s personal cig-momanometer scale.)

I always refer the question of how we chose the precise tobacco blend to others in the company like the President or CEO. I’m merely the Ronald Reagan-style pitchman for Kinky Friedman Cigars. For me, cigars are to be smoked and enjoyed not analyzed.

SG: What was the greatest challenge in starting up your cigar manufacturing operation?

KF: My greatest personal challenge was finding a cigar that I could enjoy that wasn’t Cuban; the greatest manufacturing challenge faced was finding a cigar that I would be happy to smoke. After all, I have been smoking since a very early age and the one taste bud I have left is a discriminating little sucker.

In your opinion, what is the best beverage to enjoy while smoking a fine cigar?

KF: Nothing better than a great Kona coffee or a glass of Guiness.

SG: Had you been elected Governor of Texas, who would have been America’s “Cigar Governor”: You or Arnold?

KF: Any Texan can drink or smoke any Californian under the table. That’s why they all come to Texas – to see how we do it.

SG: Your new book, You Can Lead a Politician to Water, But You Can’t Make Him Think, features a picture of you on the cover holding a cigar. Are there any lessons about Lone Star State politics that relate to cigars?

KF: No. Politics are invariably stressful; cigars are always relaxing.

Many thanks to Kinky Friedman for taking the time to answer our questions. For more on Kinky Friedman’s cigars, or to find a retailer near you, visit KinkyCigars.com. For all things Kinky, visit KinkyFriedman.com. To purchase Kinky’s new book, visit the Stogie Guys’ Amazon store.

Patrick S

Tags: cigars

Drew Estate

10 Responses to “Cigar Insider: Kinky Friedman of Kinky Friedman Cigars”

  1. Damsel nD'Stres Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 8:06 am #

    Hi there Stogie Guy! What a colorful man. my first smoke was a Cuban Romeo y Julieta, went red in the face, coughed like crazy…but came back for more! Great article to start my day with. Thxs, Damsel

  2. RichF Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 8:52 am #

    I just want to say that I've been really impressed with the whole Cigar Insider series here. Nabbing an interview with Kinky can't be easy to do. Keep up the good work, Stogie Guys!

  3. sungrown Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 10:50 am #

    Interesting. He states that only Cubans making cigars in Honduras can match a Cuban cigar, and states that his line of cigars are designed to replace the Cubans he loves so dearly, yet his cigars are made in the Dominican by Oliveros. Don't get me wrong, Oliveros makes some incredible cigars, but it's kinda contradicting, when you think about it.

  4. Mac and Nudo Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 11:02 am #

    That is interesting, but he also says "cigars are to be smoked and enjoyed — not analyzed." My guess is he probably doesn't really care where the tobacco comes from, just as long as it tastes good.

  5. Patrick S Wednesday, October 24, 2007 at 6:41 am #

    Sungrown-

    Not sure where you got the idea that these are made in the Dominican Republic?

    Everything I read and was told by Kinky and his people indicated that these are "handmade in Honduras."

  6. Lincoln78 Wednesday, October 24, 2007 at 7:20 am #

    I had the opportunity to meet Kinky at a cigar event in Houston. He's an interesting fella. His cigars, however, were not impressive.

  7. sungrown Friday, October 26, 2007 at 6:18 am #

    I spoke with Kinky at the RTDA. And, I sat down with Rafael Nodal of Oliveros at the RTDA directly after. This is how I found out, right from the horse's mouth. And, Kinky's booth was a tiny portion of the Oliveros booth.

  8. Ricky Friday, October 26, 2007 at 7:30 am #

    Sungrown, I was under the same impression at the RTDA as well after a discussion with one of their reps, but after talking with Kinky last week in Houston, it turns out that the cigars are imported by Oliveros, but are made by Nestor and his group.

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