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

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NomadOrb

(Nomadorb)
Feb 20, 2020
1,675
13,683
SoCal
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.
Will do, I'll eventually place an HU order if I'm still able to. Thanks for the recommendation.
 

mrmachado

Can't Leave
Oct 17, 2018
480
54
Brazil
Just one more small tip. Removing the clove heads to use as the most precious part of it is something I find to be a good idea. It is from these "heads" that the crackling sound ("crec, crec"... hence Kretek... true story) that we kretek-lovers all find irresistible to hear, and it makes for more tasty clove than the clove's "body" (in my opinion of course)... although I do grind the "head and body" together in the blender, I do like to add some 'lone heads' later to improve the 'sound&taste'. Here are some images. Hope you guys like it (oh, the tin is of Molto Dolce, but empty of it course... It's just my favourite tin).

P.S.: Later on today, I also removed the tobacco from 2 Gudang Garam cigarettes and added it into the mix... let's see how it goes. Half will be smoken now, and half will be saved for maturation.

tabaco cachimbo cravo processo 2.jpegtabaco cachimbo cravo processo 1.jpeg tabaco cachimbo cravo processo 3.jpeg tabaco cachimbo cravo processo 4.jpeg
 

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chopper

Lifer
Aug 24, 2019
1,480
3,321
Thanks for sharing @mrmachado


My first kretek cig was a Bentoel and then Gudang Garam at 14yo. Loved them.

bought a pack every now and then over the years. On my honeymoon to Bali all I smoked were Gudang Garam [the smaller non-filter are the best] then continued smoking them for around three years.

Most kretek smokers would have tried making their own and most, like myself, failed miserably.

One thing not mentioned; Indonesia has one of the highest [if not the highest] rates of smoking related illness on the planet.
The kretek cigarette is often blamed. I'm not sure why. Whether it's the cloves themselves or something that is added to the tobacco I really don't know [Tailor-made cigarettes have a staggering 300-600 added chems. I've not been able to find if or what chems are added to kretek cigarettes]

The filtered Gudang Garam International cigs are quite high in nicotine and take ten minutes to smoke.
Not sure if the high nic is responsible or not.

You heard anything on the subject? Thoughts?
 

Lawyer66

Can't Leave
Nov 21, 2020
319
638
Grand Cayman
Best friend in High School was/is Indonesian. He was actually the guy that bought me my very first pipe. He also brought me some Sampoerna kreteks. They were huge, looked like joints, and had high nicotine. I really do wonder what cloves would taste like now. I have had Djarums and some others before as well.
 

sumusfumus

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 20, 2017
596
546
New York City
I was just about to post a request a recipe for a homemade version of Kretek pipe-tobacco, did a search, and came across this thread! Amazing coincidence!

Can't wait to mix a small batch. I used to smoke clove cigarettes, years ago, but gave that vice up and replaced it with others.

Thanks for posting the recipe and for all the subsequent comments, suggestions and critiques.

I wish some large tobacco retailers would either mix some bulk Kretek, or import some bulk, for domestic sales. Importation and shipping fees make ordering Kretek, prohibitive.
 

sumusfumus

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 20, 2017
596
546
New York City
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.
Thanks for the alternative recipe....but can you add some weights, volumes, or proportions for the ingredients, please?
 

canucklehead

Lifer
Aug 1, 2018
2,862
15,339
Alberta
I was always told that menthol was added to cigarettes to open up the blood vessels in the lungs to allow more absorption of nicotine. Is there an affect to smoking cloves, or is it merely a flavoring?
Cloves numb your mouth and throat so you don't notice the harshness of the tobacco and thus inhale more. An uncle of mine used to smoke those Djarums regularly for a while until he started coughing up black crud in the morning.?
 

sumusfumus

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 20, 2017
596
546
New York City
I'm reading thru all the warnings about health risks from smoking Kretek, and I'm both somewhat confused, and concerned. I assumed that KRETEK PIPE-TOBACCO will not be inhaled by the smoker....correct? Or, did I miss something, or misunderstand how Kretek pipe-tobacco will be used?

I want to mix a small batch of clove, pipe-tobacco, and not use Kretek for RYO cigarettes.
 
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BROBS

Lifer
Nov 13, 2019
11,765
40,032
IA
Cloves numb your mouth and throat so you don't notice the harshness of the tobacco and thus inhale more. An uncle of mine used to smoke those Djarums regularly for a while until he started coughing up black crud in the morning.?
Yup. It’s also really strong harsh tobacco but you can’t tell because of the clove. I’m assuming that’s why they added it to begin with. Also who knows wtf else they put in there? I’m assuming there is little to no regulation over there.
 
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mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,529
Whoa, that blend has more ingredients than a recipe from an authentic Indian cookbook. If you want a pleasing but less demanding clove experience, just suck the cloves for the flavor and as a breath freshener. These are the old time Tic-Tacs at a better price. I do admire the initiative to perfect such a blend even though I'm not drawn to smoke it.
 

Quaide

Lurker
Mar 13, 2021
1
7
This is in no way an endorsement, nor am I attempting to give medical advice. Just speaking from my personal experience, and the results of some research I did on this subject.

I smoked kretek for about 17 years (13 to 30). I had childhood asthma problems that faded when I was about 14. During that 17 year period, I also smoked about 3/4 pack a day of Salem menthol, along with 3 or 4 Sampoerna X-Tras (the most amazing cigarette ever made, imho. Discontinued after Phillip Morris bought out Sampoerna). I quit in 2000. Within a year, my old asthma problems returned. I smoked nothing for the next 18 years, and had one of only two serious asthma attacks in my life right about halfway through that. The only other asthma attack I had was when I was about 11. My doctor put me on an asthma "rescue" inhaler.

Extreme life stress stacked on me about 2 years ago, and I started smoking again. I wasn't interested in smoking regular cigarettes. I had a craving for cloves. In the time since I had quit, cloves had been banned in the US, then brought back as "clove cigars". I bought a pack of American Djarum Black "clove cigars". While they taste a lot better than American cigarettes to me, they tasted NOTHING like the "old school cloves". The numbing effect was missing, along with most of the flavor. So I did some research into what was different, as well as what is in kretek that produced the effects I was looking for. It led me to learning about a chemical compound called Eugenol.

Cloves are rich in Eugenol, and the variety used in Indonesian kretek (most Ceylon cloves from Sri Lanka) have a different taste than 'cooking cloves', and much more clove oil. Most tobacco studies ignore Eugenols chemical properties, and instead equate it to menthol, which has no real medicinal value and is added to cigarettes to mask their harshness and hide the tobacco flavor. Do cloves also do that? Sure, to some extent, but not as much. Eugenol is NOT the same as menthol. Studies that equate the two substances are not being honest in their evaluation. Eugenol is a topical anesthetic, which is why smoking cloves numbs your mouth and lips, and it's also why clove bud oil is rubbed on your gums to stop a toothache. But it does a lot more than that. Eugenol is a bronchiodilator, which means that it opens up your breathing passages in much the same way as Primitine Mist or other sorts of asthma inhalers. I discovered that the kretek was actually developed to (of all things) treat respiratory ailments such as emphysema. Eugenol also stimulates the lungs natural cleaning process. I know it seems totally counter-intuitive to smoke something to treat respiratory problems, but it is what it is. Is smoking cloves healthy? Of course not! Does anyone here think that burning carcinogenic substances and breathing them is actually good for you? I doubt that. We don't smoke for our good health.

Now, the difference between Indonesian kretek and American "clove cigars". Real kretek has a 2:3 ratio of clove to tobacco, so they are about 40% clove. The American "clove cigar" has about 15% to 20% clove, with the balance made up from American processed cigarette tobacco. By the way, chemical analysis of various tobaccos from around the world seem to indicate that there is nothing worse for you to smoke than American cigarette tobacco. They add a ton of really nasty chemicals to it as part of the "ammonia chemistry" of matching your lungs pH levels, which in turns facilitates nicotine uptake, creating the 'spike' that keeps you addicted. Pipe tobacco is the 'cleanest' tobacco option I know of, because they do not add these chemicals. I would assume that the tobacco used in Indonesian cigarettes (especially now that one of the larger companies is part of Phillip Morris) do the same. If you are worried about what they add in the tobacco, I would avoid cigarettes and stick to pipe tobacco.

So, long winded I know, but back to the subject of this thread. I was able to purchase a carton of REAL Djarum Black from Indonesia recently. Paper wrapped, 2:3 ratio cloves. They had the Eugenol numbing effect I remembered, and tasted orders of magnitude better than the "clove cigar" counterpart. I noticed something else too after I started smoking them again. My asthma problems became virtually non-existent, much as it had been "back in the day". I had been using my asthma inhaler on average about 6 times a day for the 18 years I had smoked nothing at all, but since I started smoking the REAL kretek, I haven't needed it at all. I used to have regular morning congestion, but it too has disappeared. Again, I'm not a doctor, and I'm not giving medical advice. I'm just relating my personal experience.

It has become VERY difficult lately to buy the kreteks directly from Indonesia, unless you are using crypto currency of direct money transfer (the latter of which I do NOT recommend), and so I have been seeking an alternative, which is how I found this thread. To do my own experiment, I picked up a pouch of Captain Black Cherry, and bought some organic ceylon cloves. I ran them through a grinder (I also grind 'head & body' together) and bagged it in a ziplock. I packed a pipe load in the typical 3 step (base layer, core layer, topper) method, and inserted a layer of the ground clove between each tobacco layer. This gives me roughly the 40% clove content. The Eugenol effects are definitely present in the smoke, but I can still very much taste the burley and cavendish in the tobacco, along with the cherry.

Now, I'm just trying to work out a 'sauce' for the cloves, like what OP has done. I might try a similar approach, though I am looking to reproduce the effects and flavor of Sampoerna X-Tra, versus GG, so my mix will have different ingredients. I will come back and post again when I come up with a recipe.

For anyone curious about the effects of cloves versus regular cigarettes, I encourage you to research Eugenol. I ran across a study conducted that is evaluating the use of Eugenol as base for an asthma inhaler. They also did extensive comparisons between real kretek and regular American tobacco (like Marlboro), and the long term health conditions they create. There are actually lung issues that developed in the test group that smoked regular cigarettes that didn't show up at all in the test group that smoked kretek. Here is a link to the abstract of the study, which in turn links to all aspects of the study in more detail.
 

rafa_gg

Lurker
May 21, 2021
1
0
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!
Nossa! Muito bom cara! Eu gostaria de entrar em contato com vc a respeito de onde achar alguns ingredientes, se for possível! wpp - 51995189760
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
16,142
30,281
46
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
I was always told that menthol was added to cigarettes to open up the blood vessels in the lungs to allow more absorption of nicotine. Is there an affect to smoking cloves, or is it merely a flavoring?
that's one of those silly myths. It is added for flavor and local numbing which doesn't open any blood vessels in the lungs but does allow people to take bigger hits then they normally would. Clove pretty much does the same thing in a cigarette. Adds flavor and is also a local numbing agent allowing for bigger inhales as well as smoking more while ignoring irritation.
 

sumusfumus

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 20, 2017
596
546
New York City
The newest information and recipes for making some Kretek-like tobacco mixtures... is very interesting, but the end use implies that the smoker will be inhaling the tobacco. Not something that I'll be doing.

The detailed information about the differences in cloves and Eugenol content was also an eye opener.

Thanks, to all...... for posting the latest on the subject.
 

sumusfumus

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 20, 2017
596
546
New York City
Anybody here besides me who got hooked on the clove-flavored Life Savers by their granddad like I was? I was so sad when they were discontinued.
Adam's "CLOVE" Chewing Gum.... was my go-to breath freshener when I went out bar hopping with the guys, back in the days of absolute my wayward youth. But, Choward's Scented Gum -that comes in a blue and silver box- was the best-for-the-breath.

I wish Altoids would expand to include clove flavored breath "mints". I wish I knew about the clove flavored Life Savers......
 
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May 2, 2020
4,664
23,776
Louisiana
Adam's "CLOVE" Chewing Gum.... was my go-to breath freshener when I went out bar hopping with the guys, back in the days of absolute my wayward youth. But, Choward's Scented Gum -that comes in a blue and silver box- was the best-for-the-breath.

I wish Altoids would expand to include clove flavored breath "mints". I wish I knew about the clove flavored Life Savers......
Do they still make that gum? I’ve never seen it, but I bet I’d like it. I think they just resurrected the old Blackjack and Clove chewing gums.
 
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sumusfumus

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 20, 2017
596
546
New York City
Do they still make that gum? I’ve never seen it, but I bet I’d like it. I think they just resurrected the old Blackjack and Clove chewing gums.
Oh geez...sorry for the geezer typos and grammar mistakes.

Yes...they still make Clove/Blackjack chewing gum and ditto: Choward's Scented Gum. Best to order it online, it's cheaper. Few stores carry it and when they do....it's ridiculously expensive.

Choward's Scented Gum is the absolute best for covering any lingering reminders of tobacco and food on one's breath. Sen-Sen Licorice Chips also work....but the Scented Gum was my favorite. A favorite of all my cheapo friends too. My packs of expensive gum went fast back in my salad days!
 
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