What Are Kreteks?


Clove cigarettes, known also as kreteks, are cigarettes whose ingredients are clove, tobacco and a special flavoring sauce. The name kretek was taken from the crackling sound the cigarette produced when lit.

Historically, an Indonesian man of the name Haji Jamarhi was the first to invent the clove cigarettes in the 1880s. The use of the clove was to utilize the chemical in it called eugenol, which was thought to treat asthma. Afterwards, having realized that it alleviated his chest pains, he introduced it in the market. Currently, since it originated in this Asian country, most Indonesians smoke kreteks.

In making these cigarettes, kreteks can either be machine-rolled or hand-rolled. With tobacco as its basic ingredient, buds from clove trees are added. Usually, only one-third the size of the tobacco. After which, a secret sauce, made from a concocted mix of fruits and spices, is added. The last process was the spraying of the blends with an artificial sweetener known as saccharine, which, obviously, gives it its sweet taste.

With the kinds of ingredients employed, clove cigarettes are undeniably different compared to cigarettes. There are lots of cigarette brands in the market today. With kreteks out in the market, internationally-known brands are a hit to aficionados all over the world. Among these are Bentoel, Wismilak, Gudang Garam, Sampoerna and Djarum.

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