Discussion in 'Kodo Corner: The Wood' started by Ensar Oud, Dec 17, 2013.
Mon-Koh grade Kyara from Yamadamatsu. Cloying sweetness akin to black oil Kyara.
Real nice! Did you get this off their website?
Your collection is just so awesome.
I wish I could visit you and do some sessions
Ah I bought it when I was at their main branch in Kyoto. You could not get this grade online unfortunately.
Thanks! But I believe my humble collection pales in comparison to what some of the Oud head have here!
I forgot were i read it possibly on this forum but Kyara is the most oil rich wood out of the Aloes classifications compared to being most resinous correct?
Di Ser who has said to distill there small lot of Kyara to incorporate into perfume but mentioned the difficulty of "This was an enormously bold and risky undertaking, considering the expense of the raw material, the tiny yield, and the difficulty in extracting oil from such densely-resinated wood." Again is Kyara the most oil rich wood or resin rich wood?
Wonder what Mon-Koh means...Nice pics!! Anyone have a comprehensive grading list of Kyara/Kinam? Does there even exist one?
mon koh means to listen to the incense, a Japanese tradition of incense appreciation, part of kodo
there's no such thing as mon koh grade really, as it refers to the ceremony itself, not the material used
You are right in saying Mon Koh is the process of wood appreciation as per Japanese kodo culture, by listening to a sliver of high quality fragrance wood. Sora-daki on the other hand is more of a fumigation style by heating bigger chunk of normal quality wood for the purpose of scenting room, clothes and etc.
Now the terms ‘Mon Koh grade’ and ‘Sora-daki grade’ are used very loosely to denote the quality of the fragrance wood, whether is it high enough to be appreciated in a Kodo session or just mainly for general purpose.
You can refer to KZ link below for more description and explanation.
When I was at Yamadamatsu in Japan, I was trying out their highest grade (SS grade) kyara that was offered on display. To be honest, I was not that impressed as I thought they were quite subpar compared to my collection. Upon seeing my disappointment, the sales lady went inside the store to bring out the higher quality kyara pieces (refer to my posted pictures) and in her own words she referred these pieces as the ‘listening grade’.
Very loosely indeed, and super subjectively. A wide range of grades may be 'suitable for mon koh'.
However, I can see how it could be used as an auxiliary qualifier to help better communicate one's needs.
Thanks for further clarifying and for relaying your personal experience.
Now I can be suitably jealous
Based on what I have seen available, by looking at Japanese Incense Houses online, they do grade Kyara at different levels, at what appears to be the level of resination. Some chunks have portions of less resination which looks like white wood, but I don’t think it can really qualify as white wood.
But then again, there’s the factor of age....check this link https://www.kyarazen.com/hon-kyara-versus-shin-kyara/
Oudamberlove, powdernose and Oudlearner... Thanks for posting the links.. Really useful! Quite clear now on what Mon-Koh means and how it can be used to differentiate a subgroup of Kyara from other types as in being 'suitable' for that purpose. For me Sora Daki is the modus operandi for Agarwood..Some day hopefully will get to do a proper Mon-Koh session with something akin to that sickly (in a good way) looking wood you got there Oud learner. I have some green kyara from Baieido which I've only used once and in a most disrespectful way.. I scraped off a small splinter and did a semi Sora Daki on it. : S
correct. thats my understanding too. grade words like super, double super, king, etc. are for visual/weight grade of the wood not its scent. we forget that for many agarwood has value as wearables like bracelets bangles and stuff or simply for carving into statues, etc. now more often than not the same wood has a superior aroma too but not necessarily. so when a simple looking or nice but far from impressive lookign wood has tremendous fragrance and complexity at low temperature is said to have high mon koh value.
it is my understanding that kyara is white, yellow, green, black in order of lowest to highest. i also understand that white is shin kyara. and yes i can personally confirm that shin kyara is hard and green oil or yellow or black are all softer and pliable. no scent to shin kyara at room temp but others all have some aroma at room temp. at 50-60 degrees though magic unfolds.
good to see you here sir. in my experience all, not some, not most, but ALL the magic of kyara is lost on high heat. is there still some pleasure to be had? sure. but that WOW WOW WOW, i wana bang my head on the wall in disbelief experience is only experienced in low temps. even at 180 or 200 degrees, far below combustion or charcoal heat 80-90% of that magic is lost. really... zero exaggeration. if you see even the slightest thinnest barely visible stream fo smoke, you have rubbed yourself of the real pleasures that wood had to offer. my 2 cents.
Thanks Rasoul.. Good to see you frequenting the forest here as well!! So the magical figure at which 'ALL' the magic unfolds is 50-60.. Duly noted!!
Personally I would suggest you hold on to the Baieido and Shoyeido kyara first to have another proper Mon Koh session before considering selling them. Kyara are getting rarer and even those offered by the venerable Japanese incense houses are getting poorer in quality and more expensive as well, at least for those on display. One of the biggest mistakes I made and regretted was selling a batch of Shoyeido Kyara a few years ago which I could not replace till now!
Subjective indeed on a personal level as there is never a formalized and agreed classification on how a ‘mon koh grade’ wood should be, whether in terms of appearance and scent profile. From my limited experience and perspective, I classify ‘mon koh grade’ as those possessing strong vanillin or resinous smell at ambient temperature with intense and complex fragrance at low heat (< 100deg for kyara and 80-120deg for other woods).
Different countries such as China, Taiwan and Japan have different classification system. Japanese classification in strict accordance to Rikkoku Gomi, does not grade based on resination appearance but on specific scent profile as per the incense house specification.
There is no colour coding in Japanese Kyara classification, at least you will not find such colour system for Kyara in Shoyeido and Yamadamatsu. Hence it is technically not right to equate shin kyara to white kyara. ‘Shin’ translate as ‘new’ simply means young or immature kyara. You can read more about Shin Kyara in KZ article. https://www.kyarazen.com/hon-kyara-versus-shin-kyara/
On the other hand, the Chinese grade the kyara not just in terms of smell but also by the state and formation of resin in the kyara wood e.g whether the resin was formed and amalgamate with the wood fibers while the tree was still alive or not. The colour classification can be viewed as either an association to the different kyara formative states or for ease of marketing purposes depending on who you are talking to.
Personally I do not agree there is an order to the colour in terms of quality but rather each colour reflects one aspect of the kyara scent spectrum. In my opinion, the price differences between each colour (white is more expensive than yellow by the way) is simply due to the scarcity of the material rather than quality itself.
experiment for yourself, but start far lower temps than you think at first. then go very gradually higher. surface material i find makes a difference too. i love raw ceramic for these types of wood.
Oops a bit too late.. I still have a reserve piece of the Baieido green and a bit more of the Shoyeido but I know you are right...Best to keep and use properly...Sad to hear what's happening to renowned vendors but not surprising.
Have made a few mistakes as well, with my Oud oils.. Oh well it's a learning process. Hard to forecast some times. Best to consult before.
That's a useful classification even if from limited experience ... Are there non kyara woods possessing a strong vanillin or resinous smell at ambient temperature?
The Chinese way of grading Kyara seems more comprehensive and more indicative of resin formation quality.. So is it correct to conclude the color classification depicting different formative states is part of the Chinese way of grading?
Sorry for all the questions dear Oud Learner or learned I should say : ) Have a few more but will resort to one(split in 2) for now. In your view is their any association between color and formation states? and if so then color and wood quality?
Separate names with a comma.