These were my old staple cigarettes.

Cloves, yes.

Delicious? Certainly.

Would they make my lungs crystalize/bleed/become full of holes? I'll never get to know, though I've certainly heard stories.

So I smoked Sampoerna X-tras. I started when I was 18 years old, getting a pack because there was something lacking in normal cigarettes. I'm gonna say it was flavor. I loved my Sampoerna X-tras. They were delicious. I was in rapture. I enjoyed them like the proverbial medium rare steak that assaults my taste buds with it's wrathful deliciousness. I mean, they had a great flavor alone, and they were tipped with sugar! What more can you ask for in a small stick that's killing you slowly every time you inhale its delicate, tingling, smoke? I wouldn't venture to tell you, though I'd suspect it has something to do with cooking the reddest of meats on a grill.

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, the impossible happened. The four horsemen were out and about, and one of them must've gone to the Sampoerna headquarters and done fucked with the executive staff. They released a new box of Sampoerna X-tras that took the place of my old pack. A little triangle declared their "New, Smoother Taste!" Skeptical as well as curious and a bit worried, I bought my next pack with the trust that the company had fostered deep in my taste buds and sense of smell.

I smoked every last one of those cigarettes, and they were foul. Sampoerna had changed paper, as well as tobacco/clove blends, apparently, and the cursed things didn't burn right unless you sucked on them like a milkshake. I could barely get the smoke out of the thing, into my mouth, and by the time I did, I'd heated the darn thing up so that it didn't taste right. The thing burned slower than a bag full of convenience store ice. It also tasted lame, not smooth at all.

I fumbled around a bit, trying their classics and a few other brands, but I finally settled with Djarum blacks. This decision was prompted mainly by the fact that most of my friends in Texas smoke them, when they can't get their hands on decent cigars. I know, I know, I've fixed myself to black cigarettes, but no one asks me if I'm a Satanist or anything because I take the precaution of wearing a predominantly flannel and hawaiian shirt oriented wardrobe. I'm just peeved that the old days and their old ways are gone.

Forget what people say about marijuana. These cigarettes are the biggest gateway drug in the universe.

I tried Sampoerna X-tras for the first time my sophomore year in college. I had always loved the smell of cloves, and resolved that I would finally try them. So, my friend Melissa and I went to the tobacco store in the mall and asked the nice lady behind the counter if they sold cloves. And of course she said yes, so we pointed to the pack that most closely resembled what we had seen other people smoking and bought it. (Melissa paid. This will be relevant to my story in just a few lines.)

Ahh, the bliss.

As DJuxtaposition said, they are delicious, even discounting the sugared tip. Cancer candy canes, my friend Dave calls them.

Now, I'm not a smoker. My previous philosophy was that, as long as I never buy cigarettes, I'm not a smoker. (Hence the importance of Melissa paying, above.) Of course, since then, I have broken down a few times and bought my own pack. But really, folks, I'm not a smoker. I mean it.. :-)

And DJuxtaposition, I have noticed the difficulty in keeping them lit, but I'm looking at my pack and I don't see any triangles or "new smoother" message. Maybe it's a regional thing..

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