My Attempts at Homemade Kretek-Like Tobacco for Pipe (With Recipe)

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mrmachado

Can't Leave
Oct 17, 2018
480
54
Brazil
EDIT: Fixed Capitalization in Title (See Rule 9) - Bob

OK, so I was basically out of the pipe smoking world for around 1 year.

And the one thing which made me stop paying attention to pipesmoking was... Kretek. If you're not familiar with the word, they are those Indonesian clove cigarettes. Not with clove flavor, but made with real cloves. Gudang Garam is the best of them IMO. And it's goddamn expensive.

Lately I realised I was spending too much on kretek cigarettes (which are literally the most expensive of all cigarettes here in Brazil [Gudang Garam] - R$25, equivalent to 5 USA dollars today - per pack).

What came up in my mind? Stop wasting money with that shit and make my own kretek-like tobacco to be smoked in my pipes.

It would save me a ton of money if I got it right, and would not damage my lungs as much.

The first attempt involved only ground clove (around 30-40% and the rest was just some random RYO virginia tobacco). Not that tasty.

But I am persistent so I kept trying, and I found a blog where a guy shared his recipe (can't find it anymore, sorry) of homemade kretek. The guy's recipe gave me lots of ideas and then I was back on the track. Since then, I've made more 3 or 4 batches, and I'm enjoying the latest ones more and more. 2 days ago I decided to finally quit the cigarettes, stick with my "kretek for pipe" recipes, an also share it with you guys, who helped me immensely in the past.

My last batch hasn't even fully dried, leave alone mature, but it's the most tasty so far. So I decided that the time to share was now!

What I used (for a ~65-70g yield):
(sorry for not having the exact numbers but I have a good sense of weight by hand/eye, and the resulting product filled a 50g empty Kendal Cream can with good leftovers, so, you get a sense of the proportion)
- ~25g clove (ground in normal good old common blender)
- ~20g Samuel Gawith's Dark Bird's Eye
- ~5g Kendal Cream Deluxe
- ~5g Peterson Irish Flake
- ~2.5g Random unnamed sweet Virginia (which a bought in a popular marketplace)
- 1 medium leaf of very dry Nicotiana Rustica (Mapacho) for an extra punch
- a pinch of ground nutmeg (~1/5 tsp)
- a pinch of ground cinnamon (~1/3 tsp)
- ~2 teaspoons of honey
- ~100ml of scotch (I used Logan Heritage Blend but you can use whatever one you feel like using, even maybe Rum)
- ~50ml of Macieira (a Portuguese distilled beverage made from wine, 36% alcohol)

How to make it:
1 - separate the tobacco you feel like using (I like those because they taste more neutral to me, despite the strenght of some).
2 - put the clove in the blender for around 20 seconds, just don't let it get too ground. Too much of a fine powder and it won't make the "crackling" sound of the good kreteks. And when taking off the blender, don't forget to scrape the oily grounded clove on the sides - the oil cointains a LOT of clove flavor.
3 - mix everything: the tobacco(s), the clove, the spices, the honey (if you like some extra sweetness) and the distilled beverage(s) with a spoon in a deep plate (like those we use for pasta, or a larger dish if you're making a bigger amount - I don't recommend making a huge amount at your first time if you don't know if you'll like to smoke it though, you could en up wasting tobacco and other ingredients).
4 - cover the plate with something for 24h, for the tobacco to absorb the flavors
5 - let it dry on open air until it pleases you
6 - store it to let it mature, or smoke right away. I'd recommending storing a part for the future (the flavor does improve within a couple of months) and smoking another part right away if you're curious.

Anyway, I don't know if you guys like kretek, or even the flavor of clove, but I do love both. These recipes (especially this one which came out pretty amazing for my taste) are my contributions to you guys after you guys after many of you helped immensely in 2018 when I was a complete pipe noob.

P.S.: another great thing about this recipe is that you can use the spices, beverages and tobaccos you like the most!

Hope some of you enjoy it!
 
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jhand45

Lurker
Apr 6, 2020
31
29
Interesting. Does the kretek you previously smoked also have scotch and macieria in it? Was there a reason you chose those specific base components?
 

mrmachado

Can't Leave
Oct 17, 2018
480
54
Brazil
Interesting. Does the kretek you previously smoked also have scotch and macieria in it? Was there a reason you chose those specific base components?
Well, I adapted the recipe from a blog of a guy who tried to emulate Indonesian cigs and tobacco overall.

Neither I nor anyone has the slightest idea about the actual process of the making of a Gudang Garam (or Sampoerna, or Djarum, any of those for that matter) because the recipe is kept secret like the Coca-Cola was (don't know if it still is... probably so).

The poor guy must have tried many, many times from scratch to come up with the recipe, which I now don't know if if still exists on the internet (it was a small blogspot site if I'm not mistaken).

So I took the core steps (soaking in a beverage, the process of catching the oil , and some many detalis you see on this OP were added by my own experimentation).

Hope that answers it.
 

mrmachado

Can't Leave
Oct 17, 2018
480
54
Brazil
P.S.: About the scotch and the Madeira liquor (not the wine):
The scotch, and actually any kind of whisky (I just don't like that straight Jack Daniels type of bourbon in this recipe... honey bourbon might be interesting to try, though) was already on the recipe I had found last year. Mind you, I searched through the WHOLE surface web trying to look for a kretek-like tobacco recipe (whether for rolling cigs or for pipe) and this was the only one I ever came across... it's even scary. But now at least there's another recipe, in this thread. :ROFLMAO:
 

mrmachado

Can't Leave
Oct 17, 2018
480
54
Brazil
Had the same idea, never smoked cigarettes but missed the smell of kretek.
Will make my own batch this week.
Terimah kasi banyak

Hey, if you do try your hand on your version of this recipe, please let me know how it went... You can post here in this thread or send me a PM.

I'm all about trying to create a kretek simulation that comes close to the level of tastiness of the Gudang Garam because, man... that's the best stuff I've smoked in my life.

I hope I don't get bashed here by saying wha I'm saying now (after all it's a pipe forum, hence trying to make a Gudang Garam Pipe Version...), but that sh*it is better than anything in my opinion. Cohibas, Montecristos, GREAT pipe tobaccos... I'm yet to find something that will surpass GG. Maybe in a trip to Indonesia. lol
 
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bluegrassbrian

Your Mom's Favorite Pipe Smoker
Aug 27, 2016
6,202
55,762
41
Louisville
I smoked Kretek for years (Djarum super and dji Sam soe primarily) and even ordered cartons from Indonesia for a couple years once they were outlawed here in the US.

I still occasionally make them. Your recipe is extremely complicated.
I mix Sutliff red Virginia ribbon with their blended oriental ribbon and add my clove (Madagascar and Ceylon cloves ground in a ceramic burr grinder to a specific coarseness).
In use a RYO tube packer. It's gotten as close as I can get it to the real thing but nothing is like the real thing.
 

mrmachado

Can't Leave
Oct 17, 2018
480
54
Brazil
@bluegrassbrian , you are right in that the recipe is complicated, if one is to follow through all the ingredients. However it was meant to be a general guide, as in [tobacco(one or many)]+[spirits of your choice]+[clove]+[spices of your choice].

Of course you can choose and play with the tobaccos you like more (those were just the ones I had found to suit the kretek taste better at that time... today I used others, adding more virginia - your post made me want to try and play heavier on the virginia side), the beverage (used scotch plus a honey-flavored bourbon today), clove (there are some varieties if I'm not mistaken, so, more room to play... but I only have easy access to the common "clove from India") and the spices (today I used a pinch of nutmeg, a pich of powdered cinnamon, and a very, very small pinch of cumin).

So, as you see, it was meant to be just a general guideline that you can play along, as to suit your personal taste the best! The base, for my recipe, is just tobacco + liquor + clove + pices.

I hope I clarified that! :LOL:

P.S.: If you haven't added a spirit like a whisky to your recipe, I HIGHLY suggest you do it... just make sure to let all the alcohol evaporate. My first attempt at this kind of mix was witout the liquor, and, man, the scotch enhanced the sh*t out of ALL flavors. Swear by it.
 
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Lifer
Dec 24, 2014
2,106
14,382
Tucson Az
I smoked djarum blacks in college. When I first picked up the pipe my friend mixed some cloves into Prince Albert. It was terrible as you’d expect he used way to much clove just kind of dumped it in without measuring. Your recipe looks interesting.
 

mingc

Lifer
Jun 20, 2019
4,027
11,255
The Big Rock Candy Mountains
I notice you can get clove "cigars" now in the US. I assume this is just a clove cigarette by another name, wrapped in reconstituted tobacco leaf rather than paper. Has anyone tried to break them up to smoke in a pipe? How does it taste? Just like the cigarette?
 
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bluegrassbrian

Your Mom's Favorite Pipe Smoker
Aug 27, 2016
6,202
55,762
41
Louisville
I notice you can get clove "cigars" now in the US. I assume this is just a clove cigarette by another name, wrapped in reconstituted tobacco leaf rather than paper. Has anyone tried to break them up to smoke in a pipe? How does it taste? Just like the cigarette?

Yeah those things don't come close to the real think.
Totally different tobacco blend by my estimation and a heavier paper/wrapper with a larger and more dense filter.
 
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NomadOrb

(Nomadorb)
Feb 20, 2020
1,674
13,663
SoCal
I smoked something called Nirvana and Nirvana menthol back in school. Love the kretek, have looked for clove like flavors in pipe tobacco for a while, but nothing came close.

I may experiment with some homemade kretek down the line, but for now, it's probably for the best that I don't get back into kretek cigs.
 
May 2, 2020
4,664
23,772
Louisiana
I smoked something called Nirvana and Nirvana menthol back in school. Love the kretek, have looked for clove like flavors in pipe tobacco for a while, but nothing came close.

I may experiment with some homemade kretek down the line, but for now, it's probably for the best that I don't get back into kretek cigs.
If you get a chance to try HU Moroccan Bazaar, give it a go. It has a nice melange of warm spices that really makes for a nice smoke. Probably not as intense on the clove as what y’all are going for here, but a great smoke if you like those kinds of flavors.