Kreteks or Clove Cigarettes in Indonesia

Kreteks or Clove Cigarettes in Indonesia

If you are a cigarette enthusiast, kretek or clove cigarettes from Indonesia are an absolute must-try! This exotic cigarette will surely transport you into the tropical land that is full of aromatic spices. 

It’s not a secret anymore that clove cigarettes are famous in Indonesia and even among international cigarette fans. Kretek has a very distinct flavor and scent from its western counterpart since it has a spicier and bolder flavor.

What is Kretek?

Kretek or clove cigarettes originated from Indonesia and has been one of the local’s favorite types of cigarettes. You can find these cigarettes in the supermarket or even the street vendors. Just like its name, kretek is an Indonesian cigarette with a mixture of tobacco and clove. 

The clove cigarette composition usually consists of 60-80 percent tobacco and 20-40 percent crushed cloves. A ‘sauce’ or special flavorings that are unique to each brand will be added to the mixture. A brand can have more than 100 different ingredients in its ‘sauce’.

Typically, there will be around 20-30 different varieties of tobacco inside a blend. The tobacco in the clove cigarette is usually procured from different regions in Indonesia, such as Bali, Sumatra, Lombok, and Java. 

Uniquely, the term ‘kretek’ was inspired by the cigarette’s burning sound. You can listen to the ‘kretek’ sound when you inhale the cigarette. 

When enjoying a clove cigarette, you can taste the bold and spicy flavor of tropical Indonesia. After a while, the kretek will give a soothing and cooling sensation in your throat due to its eugenol compound that acts like anesthesia. 

The Tale of Clove Cigarette in Indonesia

The clove cigarette history began in the 19th century after the Dutch planted tobacco expansively in Indonesia in the 17th century. The inventor of this spicy cigarette is still uncertain. Two people are believed to be the originator of the clove cigarette.

The first person is Haji Djamari who created a clove cigarette due to his medical condition. He created the clove cigarette after finding out that clove oil can relieve his chest pain. Djamari combined tobacco with clove and then rolled it with corn husks into a cigarette. 

He felt better after inhaling the kretek, in fact, his chest pain began to dissipate upon consuming his new invention. Soon enough, people began to notice Djamari’s clove cigarette and labeled it as a ‘medicine cigarette’. 

The second person who is thought to be the inventor of the clove cigarette is Nasilah. Similar to Djamari, Nasilah created the kretek by blending clove with tobacco and wrapping the mixture into corn husks. She began to sell the clove cigarettes in her store for traveling merchants and dokar drivers.

Nasilah met her future husband, Nitisemito, when she was selling her cigarettes. It was Nitisemito who pushed clove cigarettes into the spotlight. 

Seeing a good business prospect from his wife’s invention, Nitisemito built a business with clove cigarettes as its main product. He named the kretek brand ‘Tjap Bal Tiga’. The company began its journey in Kudus, Central Java.

Ever since then, clove cigarettes became famous in Kudus and later on all over Indonesia. Many people followed Nitisemito’s footsteps and set their own clove cigarette business, pushing the native tobacco product’s popularity even more. The rest is history.

Another version claims that the clove cigarette was first produced in 1880 in Kudus, Central Java. It was marketed as a medicine for asthma and sore throat. 

Aside from its unclear origin, the clove cigarette became a hit in Indonesia and later on spread its influence all around the globe.

Types of Clove Cigarettes in Indonesia

As civilization began to grow, clove cigarettes started to transform into various types and shapes to suit the modern era. Mainly, there are three types of clove cigarettes you can find in Indonesia:

  • Klobot Clove Cigarette

After knowing the history of clove cigarettes in Indonesia, you will notice that the first clove cigarette is wrapped in corn husks. This type of kretek is known as klobot clove cigarette.

Klobot is actually a Javanese word for corn husks. Instead of being rolled with paper, the mixture of tobacco and clove is inserted into a dried corn husk and rolled manually by the kretek maker.

It’s a rare sight to find this type of clove cigarette in Indonesia. You can only spot klobot clove cigarettes in the rural East Java region. The kretek is usually smoked by the older generation.

  • Hand-rolled Clove Cigarette

The invention of paper affected how a cigarette is produced. Instead of dried corn husks, papers were used as the clove cigarettes’ wrapping material. The kretek maker will still manually hand-rolled the cigarette, that is why it’s known as a hand-rolled clove cigarette.

The paper’s color can vary from white, black, to brown. Most hand-rolled clove cigarette type doesn’t have filters, but some does have them. You can find hand-rolled kretek in Indonesia or even outside of the country. 

  • Machine-rolled Clove Cigarette

Machine-rolled clove cigarettes are an upgrade version of hand-rolled clove cigarettes. The cigarettes are wrapped by machines for mass production.

Machine-rolled clove cigarette typically has filters on them with a similar appearance to the conventional western cigarette. Some machine-rolled kretek has a low tar and nicotine level.

Don’t Miss Out!

There is a reason why clove cigarette is popular among Indonesian and international cigarette lovers. The complex flavor that consists of a spicy and sweet taste will give you the pack of punch that you need. 

Furthermore, the aromatic scent of a burning kretek will calm you down and transport you to the tropical islands of Indonesia. 

If you are interested in trying various kinds of clove cigarettes, you can explore and purchase them at Clove Cigarettes Online! No need to question its authenticity since the online store has been providing original and high-quality kretek since 2009.

Although, make sure that you are permitted to possess and consume clove cigarettes in your state before purchasing one. Simply surf through Clove Cigarettes Online to start your journey into the kretek world!