Kinky Friedman is best known as a musician, author, and perennial candidate for political office, but a cigar is his constant companion in whichever guise he appears. He is an American humorist in the tradition of Mark Twain, and like Twain his quips are many and well known. My favorite is still what he said to Bill Clinton after handing him a Cuban cigar: “Remember, Mr. President, we’re not supporting their economy. We’re burning their fields, one cigar at a time.”
Kinky prefers Cuban Montecristos, but laments the price. He considers Honduran leaf second only to Cuban, so it is fitting that the original line of Kinky Friedman cigars uses a Honduran Habano wrapper. The binder is from Costa Rica, and the filler is a Honduran-Nicaraguan blend. They are manufactured by Habana Cuba Cigars, the makers of Oliveros, in the Dominican Republic. Five sizes are in production:
- Kinkycristo – 6 1/4 x 54 torpedo
- Texas Jewboy – 6 x 56 torpedo
- Governor – 5 3/4 x 60 toro
- The Willie – 6 x 48 parejo with a shaggy foot
- Utopian – 6 x 52 toro
Proceeds from sales of the Utopian size go to Friedman’s Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch in Medina, TX. So you can add animal lover and philanthropist to Kinky’s already extensive resume. He also makes salsa, which I haven’t tried but probably should since the proceeds from that product line also go to the Utopia Rescue Ranch.
The Kinkycristo is a nice looking torpedo with a Texas-sized primary band featuring a silhouette of the Kinkster himself. There is an additional, more discreet secondary band bearing the frontmark name, “Kinkycristo.” Together these bands cover half the cigar, which wouldn’t be a problem were it not for the surplus glue that has been smeared all over the ventral side of the stick. I wonder what would happen if I ran that fingerprint through AFIS?
That rather unsettling aesthetic anomaly aside, the Kinkycristo is rolled well, draws easily, and burns evenly.
Overall construction: very good.
I’ve smoked a few “celebrity” cigars in my time, and I can’t say that I’ve been terribly impressed with any of them. Using one’s celebrity to market a product is a business decision, not a demonstration of talent, and I am accordingly skeptical of any product peddled that way. So my expectations of this cigar were lower than they might have been. All the same, I was pleasantly surprised.
The Kinkycristo is a smooth medium-bodied cigar with a substantial amount of complexity. In the first third I found a soft woody aroma coupled with an earthy aftertaste and a few flavor notes that kept me guessing.
The middle of the cigar is a little bit spicier, but is still balanced and smooth. Cocoa, or perhaps sweet coffee with lots of cream, makes an appearance at times, along with that elusive note. It reminds me of vanilla and balsa wood, but I could be persuaded otherwise.
The Kinkycristo is surprisingly complex, but it doesn’t change much from start to finish. It stays even tempered, mild and tasty to the end. I was expecting a little more power in the last act, maybe a shot of Tabasco or chile powder, but it just tips its hat politely and meanders into the sunset.
The Kinkycristo is a smooth medium-bodied smoke that could be easily enjoyed as a breakfast cigar, or anytime at all if the medium range is where you live. The MSRP is a bit high ($165 for a box of 20), but the online behemoths are selling them right now for about 70 dollars under that. If you play your cards right on the auction sites you can do even better than that.
It’s nice to know that Kinky has a fall-back plan if the book-writing, song-singing, and campaigning-for-office gigs dry up. Cigar slinging might be what he was born for.