Heikki Pitkänen: cigars unite people and make them happy

“Cigar smokers share a common passion and they always have something to talk about, regardless of the place, language, country or culture,” said Heikki Pitkänen, president of the Cigar Club of The Helsinki Finnish Club.

Tell us a bit about your Cigar Club.

Our Cigar Club functions within The Helsinki Finnish Club, which was established in 1876 and has a very long history in cigar smoking. The Helsinki Finnish Club has over 3000 members with over 200 of them being active cigar enthusiasts in the Cigar Club. Our Cigar Club is a members-only club for The Helsinki Finnish Club.

In addition to the monthly gatherings in our cigar lounge, we organize cigar dinners, tastings, slow smoking contests, trips abroad etc. It has recently become more difficult to have any kind of cigar-related events in Finland due to government policies, so we find ourselves travelling to Tallinn more frequently.

When did you become interested in cigars?

My life with cigars started about 20 years ago when some friends of mine brought back a suitcase full of cigars from a trip to Cuba. They organized a big tasting event which included interesting presentations given by a guest speaker.

I instantly became a cigar fan, and when I get excited about something, I even tend to go a bit overboard with it. So I quickly started educating myself to the wonderful world of cigars and quite immediately started my first cigar club in my workplace at the time.

Soon, we had many shared humidors in the office, regular cigar evenings, dinners and tastings.

Do you have a favourite cigar?

It is impossible to name any one favourite cigar. I think that is the case with most of the cigar smokers.

I mostly used to smoke Cuban cigars, preferably robusto size or bigger, but there have been so many great new brands coming from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic lately that I find myself smoking more and more of those.

How do you like to smoke your cigar?

I like to enjoy the pleasurable things in life: good food and wine, time with family and friends, and of course a good cigar to top it all off.

Smoking alone in peace and quiet when heating up a smoke sauna is a wonderfully meditative experience. Celebrating a special occasion is perfect with a special cigar and some old port to go with it.

But the best way to enjoy a good cigar is with friends that share the same affection towards them. Luckily, my wife enjoys them too.

What is your cigar philosophy?

Cigar smokers share a common passion and they always have something to talk about, regardless of the place, language, country or culture. Cigars have taken me to interesting new places and made me friends all over the world, so I would say that cigars unite people and make them happy.

I would also like to use this opportunity to thank Tallinn Cigar Club and the organization of Fine Spirits & Cigar Weekend for the great event and the recognition I received in the event of 2017.

Happy smoking 2018!