Kreteks, Cloves, and the Joy of Indonesian Smokes

The crackle and the alluring aroma of the clove cigar (kretek) is worth a try. Here is a rundown on the brand remaining in the US – Djarum.

So what happened to clove cigarettes in the United States? In 2009, Congress banned flavored cigarettes, except for menthol. The big manufacturers knew tighter regulations were coming and their gambit enabled the smaller importers to be effectively out of business in the US. Well played.

Shelf space was freed up to the (always profitable) pure tobacco and menthol cigarettes. Djarum quickly changed their wrapper to meet the cigar designation. The pack size was reduced from 20 to 12. Tobacconists continue to carry them today for around $5-$7 a pack.

Internet ordering is generally cheaper and limits steep taxes.

Djarum Bali Hai

Djarum Bali Hai Filtered Cigars 10/12 are machine-made little cigars, proudly manufactured in Indonesia since 1951.

Called ‘kretek’ by locals (referring to the crackling ‘kretek kretek’ sound they make when burning), their unique blend of tobacco and clove offers a satisfying, inimitable experience for the adventurous smoker.

Djarum little cigars are offered in an array of blends and flavors, But one thing is for sure: you’ll never forget your first.

  • Initial Notes – Clove mixed with other soft spices. Reminders of a well-seasoned Thanksgiving.
  • Flavor – Flavors mix very well. Pleasant inhale and room note.
  • Ash – Dark and speckled.
  • Aftertaste – Very light. A winner!

Djarum Black

Djarum Filtered Little Cigars 10/12 are created with a super flavorful blend of natural Indonesian tobacco mixed with clove to give you a truly unique and pleasurable smoking experience.

Perfectly small for when you don’t have the time for a bigger cigar, but big enough to deliver a lot of taste!

  • Initial Notes – Black cigar with tightly packed tobacco, clean smell of cloves. Sweetened around the filter for an enticing pre-light.
  • Flavor – True clove, with a hint of menthol like spice.
  • Ash – Dark and speckled. Not a top drawer cigar, this is a pleasure stick.
  • Aftertaste – Mild, little weight on tongue or clothes.

Djarum Splash

Djarum Splash Filter Little Cigars 10/12 are the favorite of so many smokers for a couple of reasons.

One is that the distinct aroma & the flavor is pleasurable & satisfying to the palate. They’re also great because their diminutive size lets you enjoy great tobacco flavor when you have little time.

  • Initial Notes – Medium brown stick with top notes of clove and sunscreen. Fairly neutral wrapper
  • Flavor – Subdued clove with a slightly cloying notes of cream with a nicotine finish.
  • Ash – Dark and speckled.
  • Aftertaste – Medium, likely from the pronounced tobacco flavoring

Djarum Black Vanilla

  • Initial Notes – Black stick with subtle clove and muted vanilla. Sweet wrapper.
  • Flavor – The clove is in even running with a traditional tabacco experience. Easy on the inhale.
  • Ash – Dark and speckled.
  • Aftertaste – Low-Medium, you know you’ve smoked one but it isn’t ashy tasting.


  • Initial Notes – Clove and artificial cherry notes, not bad. Sweet and Mild Cherry is bad!
  • Flavor – Clove gets overpowered by a slightly medicinal cherry.
  • Ash – Dark and speckled.
  • Aftertaste – Medium. The cherry is slightly unpleasant. Best to avoid this flavor.


  • Initial Notes – Brown wrapper, pleasant fragrance.
  • Flavor – Clove is overpowered by traditional tobacco taste and smell.
  • Ash – Dark and speckled.
  • Aftertaste – Heavy. Leaves the clove realm and heads into regular tobacco territory.

Source: OCD Researcher


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