Product of the Month: Clove Oil

 One name, many different products.

A Brief History

Clove is native to Indonesia’s Maluku Islands (or the Moluccas), perhaps better known as the Spice Islands. During the Dutch colonial period, clove was monopolised through the Dutch’s control over the spice trade in the 17th Century. It is through these trades that clove was introduced to Zanzibar (Tanzania), who was once the world’s largest clove producer, through Madagascar. 

Before clove was grown outside of the Maluku islands, it was traded like oil: the amount that could be exported per year was heavily limited. As of today, Indonesia remains as the world’s largest producer of clove, with Madagascar as the next largest, producing a fraction of what Indonesia does. Indonesia is also the largest consumer of clove as it is heavily used in the tobacco industry for the Indonesian kretek cigarettes (clove flavoured cigarettes). Indonesia produces 90% of its own clove consumption.

Image: Young Clove Flower Buds from our Indonesian Supplier Partner 

The Clove Industry

The industrial scale of Clove Oil production in Indonesia is fuelled by the $100 billion clove cigarette industry. The clove cigarettes, or ‘kretek’, industry is the second largest employer in Indonesia with an estimate of between 4.3 million and 17 million employees from farming to manufacturing and advertising and many other sectors.

The leaves, wood, stems and the buds collected from this aromatic tree (eugenia caryophyllata L.) all have fragrant properties. The finest clove buds are taken for cigarette production, but there is a large amount of cracked clove buds rejected which allows genuine Clove Bud Essential Oil to be produced at half the price as other regions. 

The clove buds are gathered, allowed to dry in the sun to give the characteristic brownish-red glow, then steam distilled to produce an oil rich in eugenol and eugenol acetate.

The leaves have little of this signature ester, and more beta caryophyllene. The richest in eugenyl acetate ester is found in the sweetest Organic Madagascan type Clove Bud Oil, but it comes at a price.

Image: Our Indonesian supplier partners Clove tree (eugenia caryophyllata L.)

Clove Oil Products

The majority of Conventional Clove Oil we secure is from our partner in Sumatra, however specialist production and organic sources are from Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

Khush Ingredients stocks Indonesian Clove Bud Oil, Indonesian Clove Stem Oil as well as Sri Lankan Organic Clove Bud and Leaf Oils, imported with our grandfathered UK REACH status.

For customer specific orders we also import Eugenol, Clove Stem and Clove Bud from Madagascar.

Image: Clove Flower Buds (left) and Clove Leaves (right) from our Indonesian Supplier Partner

Our full range of clove products are available as samples upon request, please get in touch at:

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