If you are not familiar with kretek cigarettes, you must be puzzle over the questions, why do people smoke kretek? What is the contentment of kretek cigarettes? Is smoking kretek dangerous? And so forth.
Kretek cigarettes are Indonesian authentic cigarettes. Like cigarettes in western countries, bidis (beedi) in India, etc.
Kretek cigarettes also known as clove kretek, clove cigarettes or kretek.
Of course we don’t recommend young people to start smoking… But like it or not kretek cigarettes that are made with cloves are pretty unique…
In fact if you smell a funny sweet clove smell in the air it’s probably coming from an Indonesian cigarette!
Table of content
- About kretek cigarettes
- What do clove cigarettes taste like?
- How do you smoke clove cigarettes?
- Choosing clove cigarettes
- Are clove cigarettes more dangerous?
- Are cloves worse than cigarettes?
If common cigarettes only contain tobacco, kretek cigarettes consisted of cloves, tobacco and special ingredients within.
All components of kretek cigarettes, abundantly available in Indonesia. For the reason that Indonesia is one of the finest producers of tobacco and cigarettes in the world, clove kretek are produced into luscious clove cigarettes.
Each clove cigarette has a special ingredients in it. The special mixture commonly called ‘sauce’. It is an additional spice like pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, andaliman, or other organic ingredients that are commonly available in Indonesia.
In Indonesia, clove cigarettes are like artworks. Unlike the ordinary cigarettes that only rely on the quality of tobacco alone, kretek cigarettes require the composition of tobacco, cloves and, the right sauce to produce tremendous taste.
No wonder if the large cigarette companies in Indonesia have very active research and development section and are endeavoring to make the finest cigarettes.
That is the reason why every clove cigarettes brands have different sensation between one brand and another.
If you are a cigarette smoker like Marlboro, Lucky Strike, Camel, etc, don’t try smoking kretek, or you will fall in love with kretek. <g>
Dangerously nice: Kretek cigarettes
Tess Joyce (Indonesia Expat)
What do clove cigarettes taste like?
Why did she state that way? It is the result of a unique sensation that you will feel when you smoke kretek cigarettes. There is a taste that you cannot feel from ordinary cigarettes.
What kind of sensation?
In contrast to the usual white cigarettes which might produce a taste of the quality and type of tobacco. Kretek cigarettes have the added flavor of clove and a special blend.
If you smoke kretek cigarettes, you will feel the pleasure that may be strange at first. There will be the scents of tobacco, clove, and exotic special.
Sweet, salty and, cinnamon tastes will be mixed in your mouth if you smoke Sampoerna, Gudang Garam or Djarum cigarettes. Meanwhile, Wismilak and Bentoel products will give you a slightly spicy taste.
There are many different tastes from every kretek cigarette. The brands mentioned above are large producers of clove cigarettes in Indonesia.
How do you smoke clove cigarettes?
Just like smoking an ordinary cigarette, you just have to light it with a match. Then suck the cigarette slowly (avoid smoking too much if you are a newbie) and exhale, after that.
If you smoke with kretek cigarettes with filters, usually, there is a sweet taste in the filter tip (cigarette butt). These sweet flavors are among those favorably consumed by many Indonesians. No wonder this taste is sometimes found in kretek cigarettes.
In Indonesia, kretek cigarettes are also available without filter or as known as ‘unfiltered’. This kind of cigarette is much like a cigar because of the absence of a filter.
Unfiltered kretek is not recommended for novice smokers. The higher average nicotine filing can drive your head dizzy in the first attempt.
Like if you firstly suck a vape or Juul, it might feel heavier as it contains higher nicotine.
When you smoke kretek cigarettes, the sound of burning spice will slowly be heard. The noise that sounds literally kretek kretek (in Indonesian) makes this cigarette called kretek.
Be careful when you smoke kretek cigarettes as to the mixture of cloves in it. Sometimes the cigarette spark burnt ashes of the cloves that might fall and make unintentional holes in your pants or clothes.
Although it doesn’t happen often, maybe this can surprise you who get used to cigarettes.
In Indonesia, kretek cigarettes are tasted better to be enjoyed after eating or over coffee. If in the casual occasion, trying kretek cigarettes accompanied by black coffee is highly recommended.
However, the best decision to try kretek cigarettes is certainly enjoying it with Indonesian foods.
Indomie (one of the most delicious instant noodles in the world (source: LA Times)) and Kopi Kapal Api (most popular coffee brand in Indonesia) are suitable matches for kretek.
I consider Indomie Goreng and Kapal Api as the items that are easy to find.
Eat the noodles, take a break, black coffee on the table, burn the tip of the cigarette and enjoy the good time. Puff puffs…
Trying kretek cigarettes for the first time should be done attentively. You can choose mild kretek cigarettes (which have more or less the same tar and nicotine content as cigarettes like Marlboro, Camel, Lucky Strike, etc.).
You can choose the mild category kretek cigarettes from brands such as:
- Sampoerna A Mild
- LA Lights
- GG Mild
- Clas Mild
- U Mild
- and many more
The cigarettes that mentioned above are quite easily accepted by foreigners. And those brands are indeed smoked by many foreign tourists who visited Indonesia and tried kretek cigarettes.
Not only foreigners and newbie’s friendly, these cigarettes are pleasant to taste and also popular in Indonesia.
The light content of nicotine and tar will not surprise you when you try it for the first time.
For those who have tried kretek cigarettes before. The next stage is to smoke Indonesian original kretek cigarettes. Honestly, original Indonesian kretek cigarettes usually do have a higher nicotine and tar content.
In this class, some well-known brands and are favorable by Indonesians include:
- Gudang Garam International
- Djarum Super
- Dji Sam Soe Super Premium
- Gudang Garam Surya
- and many more
Oh yes, even though it might be still a newcomer to kretek cigarettes, I suggest you to try Marlboro Filter Black. It is for those of you who might be more familiar with producers of Marlboro.
Products in this category are commonly smoked by Indonesians but may be heavier than the mild kretek cigarettes above.
For the next category, including the hardcore category (including for Indonesians) are non-filter kretek cigarettes. This category usually has a high nicotine and tobacco residue (tar) content.
This category of cigarettes, for some reason, is more enjoyable in highland, mountainous or cold places.
The best-selling products in this category include:
- Dji Sam Soe (234)
- Djarum Coklat
- Sampoerna Hijau
- Djarum 76
- Gudang Garam Merah
- Wismilak Hijau
- and many more
Are clove cigarettes more dangerous?
If we want to think objectively, all smoking activities are of course dangerous to health.
The danger of smoking occurs from the content of nicotine (which causes addiction as well as coffee and tea) and tobacco residue (tar) content.
When compared to cigarettes, kretek cigarettes do usually have higher nicotine and tar.
For example, if Marlboro Red cigarettes contain 1.0 mg of nicotine and 13 mg of tobacco residue, Gudang Garam International contains 2.2 mg of nicotine and 31 mg of tobacco residue. (image below)
Are cloves worse than cigarettes?
I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. Kretek cigarettes do not always have high tar and nicotine composition.
As an example; Sampoerna A Mild kretek cigarettes have 1.0mg of nicotine and 14mg of tar.
If tar and nicotine become the standard, it means that Sampoerna A Mild is more or less equivalent to Marlboro Red.
In Indonesia, Sampoerna A Mild and Marlboro are owned by the same company, namely Philip Morris International (PMI). PT. HM Sampoerna (Sampoerna) was acquired by Philip Morris in 2004.
Do you know that Marlboro, a leading cigarette brand also has kretek cigarettes in Indonesia?
Marlboro Filter Black or more commonly called Marlboro Black is a product that is included in the category of kretek cigarettes.
Compared to Marlboro Red, the Marlboro Filter Black nicotine and tar content is 1.9 mg nicotine and 28 mg tar compared to 1.0 mg nicotine and 13 mg tar in Marlboro Red.
In my opinion, kretek cigarettes are twice as dangerous as an irrelevancy in the comparison of tobacco residue (tar) and nicotine.
If the standard is the addiction caused by nicotine, it also can not be the reason that one product is more dangerous than another product.
Logically, if kretek cigarettes are considered more dangerous because containing nicotine which is twice of white cigarettes, it means that smoking 2 (two) packs of cigarettes is as dangerous as 1 (one) pack of kretek cigarettes.
Conversely, if you smoke a mild clove cigarette containing tar and nicotine which is approximately the same as a regular cigarette, they have the same potential danger.
Smoking, whatever it is, especially those directly related to tobacco products are just equally dangerous.
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