|Today, what is it that makes kretek so special different from other kinds of cigarettes? The traditional clove-tobacco flavor and the ‘kretek-kretek’ sound of the cloves as they burn are certainly unique, but there is more to the cigarette’s allure than this alone. Firstly, the manufacture is far more complex than other kinds of cigarettes – besides tobaccos, kretek also has two additional ingredients: cloves and sauce. Secondly, Indonesian tobaccos are some of the most complex in the world in terms of quality and variety. With such diversity of tobacco on offer, some kretek brands may include over 30 kinds of tobacco. Add to these as many as 100 flavors in the sauce and a saccharine flavor added to the tip of the rolling paper for extra sweetness, and it is easy to understand why the flavor of kretek can be so complex.
Types of Kretek Available Today
- Rokok Klobot Kretek
The first type of kretek ever produced, rokok klobot kretek are manufactured by hand and often have a cornhusk wrapper. Although rare today, rokok klobot kretek can still be found in rural and east Java. The rollers are generally elderly women, while the consumers are usually elderly male peasant farmers.
- Sigaret Kretek Tangan
Introduced in around 1913, sigaret kretek tangan was the first paper-wrapped, hand-rolled commercially produced clove cigarettes. The workers sat on the floor and used hand-rolling machines until 1970, when government legislation required companies to provide tables and benches for their staff. Sigaret kretek tangan which do not have a filter, are still manufactured to this day.
- Sigaret Kretek Mesin
Launched in 1974, the sigaret kretek mesin prompted a boom in the kretek industry. These cigarettes have filters and are similar in appearance to western cigarettes, except for blotchy stains on the wrapper caused by seeping clove oil.