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Written by Dave

Saturday, 02 March 2013

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altThis week, one of the most colorful cigar loving celebs in the country drops hints that he may be adding “governor” to his list of accomplishments, while two of the most prominent cigar producing countries host their own festivals. Plus, are you ready for the most extravagantly expensive stogie ever?



 

 

 

 

Cigar Lover Kinky Friedman Ready for Another Run

In these politically correct times, most politicians won’t even admit to smoking cigarettes, much less puffing on a stogie, but Texas may have one candidate running for governor next year who’ll be campaigning with a big cigar—and some tall tales.

 

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It’s sometimes hard to tell whether country singer-turned-mystery writer and general character Kinky Friedman is serious, so maybe we should take his comments on throwing his big, black cowboy hat into the ring with a grain of salt. But after all, he can’t be any less qualified than some of the people in office now.

On February 26, Friedman told a Dallas radio host that he’s considering another run at the office of Texas governor in 2014, pointing out that “Most of us realize the real comedian is already in the Governor’s Mansion.”

Ouch! But then, current guv Rick Perry didn’t exactly cover himself in glory at the GOP debates a couple of years ago. That’s just one reason that Friedman, who came in a very respectable fourth with 12% of the vote when he ran for the office previously back in 2006, just might have a chance at stealing the governor’s mansion from the field of more traditional candidates.

This time around, the Kinkster is running on a platform that should appeal to recession-weary Texans, at least the ones who aren’t too overtly pious and have a pragmatic attitude toward some popular vices . Friedman, who plans to run as a Democrat, wants to legalize marijuana and casino gambling.

“If these two were accomplished, not only would we clear out half the prison cells in this state of non-violent offenders and put a crimp in the cartels, but we would create such a great dual stream of revenue there that things like property taxes and taxes in general we wouldn’t even be discussing them for 20 years,” he told KTCK-AM’s Rick Slater.

“The whole trick is keeping the revenue out of Rick Perry, David Dewhurst and Greg Abbott’s pockets. … It’s kind of like reappropriating state’s rights in a more positive, progressive way. In other words, in Texas we do whatever the hell we want.”

And what Kinky Friedman always wants is a really good smoke. You can bet this would be one politico who wouldn’t vote for regulating premium cigars.


Cuban Cigar Sales Soar

Despite the U.S. embargo and worldwide economic woes, sales of Cuban cigars rose from $401 million in 2011 to $416 million last year. Sales fell slightly in Spain, which is currently the biggest market for Cuban cigars, but rose 6% in number-three buyer China. Alas, the 51-year-old embargo on imports of Cuban cigars to the United States in still in place.

 

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Cigar Festival Comes to Havana

Cigar lovers from all over the world flocked to Havana, Cuba, last week for the 15th annual Habanos Festival. 1,500 participants from 70 countries gathered to enjoy an international seminar, visits to factories and plantations, an exhibition of tobacco-infused cuisine, a sommelier contest and much more.

One of the more popular attractions this year was the humidor raffle, which sold 1,000 tickets at $100 each, with the proceeds going to Cuba’s health system.


Dominican Republic Hosts ProCigar Festival

Havana wasn’t the only place rolling out the red carpet for cigar enthusiasts recently. Last week the Dominican Republic invited cigar lovers from all over the world to sample the country’s tobacco culture at the sixth ProCigar festival.

 

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Activities included trips to tobacco fields, cigar seminars and tours of Dominican cigar factories. ProCigar is now celebrating its 21st year, and MATASA (Manufactura de Tabacos S.A.) owner Manuel Quesada expressed his price in the Dominican cigar industry in his address at the festival’s official press conference.

“Twenty-one years ago, six principals in the Dominican Republic decided that we had to pool our resources in order to establish the Dominican Republic as a country of origin for premium cigars. To stay as the number one exporter for 20 years, we had to maintain quality as well as quantity. ProCigar has expanded to include not only makers of handmade cigars but machine-made products, leaf dealers and suppliers of boxes and labels. This organization represents $500,000,000 worth of economy in the Dominican Republic, which equates to 120,000 direct jobs.”

ProCigar president Hendrik “Henke” Kelner took umbrage at a report by the Cigar Association of America claiming that the Dominican Republic had been surpassed by Nicaraugua as the top importer of premium cigars to the United States. Kelner pointed out that Nicaraugua classified any cigar selling for over $0.23 to produce as “premium,” while the Dominican Republic saved this applelation for those costing over $0.76.
 






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