Sampœrna is a maker of cigarettes, clove cigarettes in particular. They, like just about every other clove maker, are based in Indonesia, though their products is manufactured in Malaysia. In America, at least, Sampœrna often plays second fiddle to Djarum, another Indonesian tobacconist, in the cloves market.
Sampœrna manufactures what are known as "kretek" cigarettes, with "kretek" basically being the Indonesian word for "clove." Most kreteks contain 60% tobacco and 40% clove spices. The back of my pack of Sampœrna Mild Filters reads "15MG TAR, 1.1MG NICOTINE," though I'd imagine the tar and nicotine content progressively rise from Milds (the clove version of a "light" cigarette) to standards like Kings and Internationals to the death-in-a-box unfiltered varities.
Given the relative narrowness of variety found in regular (American) cigarettes (Marlboro, et al), there is a surprisingly wide variety of cloves. While regular cigarettes generally come in regular, light, medium, and menthol, Sampœrna cloves come in a multitude of varieties, such as mild, menthol, x-tra, king, international and hijua, with many varieties available with or without filters. Sampœrna's current catalog consists of the following cigarettes, most of which are available for purchase in any major city the world over, or online at sites like ekretek.com and cheapsmoke.com:
- Sampœrna X-tra Filter (12, 16, and 20 count pack)
- Sampœrna Mild Filter (12, 16, and 20 count pack)
- Sampœrna International Filter (20 count pack)
- Sampœrna Executive Filter (20 count pack)
- Sampœrna King Mild Filter (12 count pack)
- Sampœrna King Mild Menthol Filter (12 count pack)
- Sampœrna Classic Filter (12, 16, and 20 count pack)
- Sampœrna Mild Menthol Filter (12, 16, and 20 count pack)
- Sampœrna 234 Filter (12 count pack)
- Sampœrna 234 Unfiltered (24 count pack)
- Sampœrna 234 Tube Unfiltered (16 count pack)
- Sampœrna Hijua Unfiltered (24 count pack)
- Sampœrna Millennium Filter (12 count pack)
- Sampœrna Unfiltered (12 count tin)
The X-tra Filter is probably Sampœrna's most recognizable kretek due to the black rolling paper and the golden band above the filter.
I've tried about half of the above varieties, and most of them are pretty smooth, almost like you're smoking a regular cigarette (with the exception of the unfiltered varieties and X-tras). I think the X-tras in particular are quite nice, as they have a slightly banana-like flavour which some say tastes like dirt. Also, for some reason, after you smoke any of the cloves listed above, your hand doesn't smell like clove smoke -- it smells like burnt popcorn. You figure it out.
As always, cigarette prices vary wildly from state to state, province to province, and country to country. In every US state I've lived in, a pack of 20 cigarettes will set you back about $5.00 USD, a pack of 16 about $3.75, and a pack of 12 about $2.50, except for the standard unfiltered 12-pack, which comes in a red tin container and usually goes for double the price of the rest of the 12-packs.
Remember, kids, smoking is bad. Don't do it.