Kyen

Discussion in 'Kodo Corner: The Wood' started by bhanny, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. bhanny

    bhanny Well-Known Member

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    Ensar, or whomever with significantly more knowledge than me. With your release of Jing Shen Lu (I swear I had a sample of it and liked it immensely but I can't find it for the life of me), perhaps we could talk more about kyen?
     
  2. Kruger

    Kruger Well-Known Member

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    @bhanny, it’s great that you brought up this topic! I thought I’d chip in because kyen oils are among my all time favorites, but also because it’s a topic that’s caused quite a stir.

    We’ve actually been planning to post some notes about kyen on our blog but we might as well start off here, where I hope others can contribute. Previously, we were quite harshly criticized when we said that resin develops in a circular pattern. The criticism came unexpectedly because we merely meant to point it out as an observation. We had no 'marketing' reasons to bring it up, but it seems like we hit a nerve with some folks. And then, more recently, Adam had to pick up some slack surrounding the same topic of circular resin development.

    So, here’s a chance for anyone and everyone to chime in on the discussion, which in the end has everything to do with kyen…

    I’ll be back to kickstart the <S>debate</S> discussion... ;)
     
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  3. bhanny

    bhanny Well-Known Member

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    @Kruger - thank you sir! Yeah, I believe I remember said criticism. In fact it seems you all get quite a bit, especially for 'marketing' issues. I have my own theory as to why you all get the brunt of it, but that is a different topic for a different day.

    However, I'm actually very interested in this. How/why does this particular resin form in a circular pattern? Are we talking circular if looking at a cross-section of the log?

    Anyway, thanks and I look forward you kickstarting this debate/discussion!
     
  4. m.arif

    m.arif Active Member

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    @kruger The first time I heard about Kyen was in the "Let's talk oud" thread, which is currently not functioning. Ensar mentioned something like, the Japanese Kodo masters usually start with burning kyen, wood that doesn't look dark and black , yet gives off amazing aroma.
    This against the mainstream understanding that the darker the wood, the better. In this case, kyen (and kyara) seems to break the norm.

    When you mention that resin develops in a circular pattern and Adam got some slack about this issue, are you referring to wood that looks hollow yet the outer layers intact?

    Then, do all trees have kyen?
     
  5. Oud Learner

    Oud Learner Active Member

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    Though it is a general norm that the resin rich woods will give superior aromas and make a better distillation raw material, it is not entirely true. In a kodo session, you can have mon-koh grade agarwood that is not heavily resinous but yet providing different dimensions and complexities, conjuring mental imageries as the smell unfolds. As you mentioned, kyara is one of those types of wood.

    On the other hand, you can have a heavily resinous that is one dimensional, containing stray and damp notes etc. In one of my conversations with Ensar, i remembered him mentioning the disappointment he had when the scent profile fell short of his expectation for a promising oil that was distilled from high quality heavily resinous raw materials.
     
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  6. Kruger

    Kruger Well-Known Member

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    Roll up your sleeve, stretch out your arm palm-up and imagine your arm is a tree. Now take a look at the veins on your forearm.... that's kinda how resin spreads.

    You can have small 'pockets' of resin in different shapes, sizes and angles due to insect and inoculation holes at random spots, but generally resin runs along like veins on your arm and matures in a circular pattern.

    In reality, you've got veins within veins, which is why, to me, the resin development actually mimics the annual growth rings of a tree itself and the simile works well when thinking of different degrees of resin.

    You've got the bark on the outside, then the inner bark (phloem), the cambium which acts sort of like a bridge between the inner bark and the sapwood. Then you've got the heartwood and the inner core. You'll see how this comes into play as we go along :)

    To keep things simple, the three main veins, or strains of resination, that distillers identify in practice are:

    1. Seah: “Incense-grade”, super hard resin, also called “the crust”.

    2. Kyen: High resin content heartwood.

    3. Lue: The area of infection immediately surrounding the trigger of the infection. For example, the ant holes.

    We can add a Nr. 4 to the list which we simply call ‘white wood’ or ‘bunk wood’. This is the uninfected area that basically contains no resin, no oud oil…. but it still gets distilled, believe it or not!
     
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  7. bhanny

    bhanny Well-Known Member

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    Ah Kruger, that is extremely helpful. Thank you. The visual is perfect. I feel I understand it much better now.

    What is it you like about the kyen oils?

    Oh man, another genre of oils for me to collect?!? ;)

    Of course I'm now searching through the Legends section for all the kyen oils, dang it! :p
     
  8. m.arif

    m.arif Active Member

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    I concur with @bhanny. Very helpful explanation there Kruger. From what I've heard distillers and vendors say, the term "kayu minyak" or oil grade wood is used to describe wood for distillation. Does Kyen come under this label or has the term "kayu minyak" been abused , in which it's supposed to mean Kyen, but in reality they are using Bunk wood?

    Is there a visual identification method to differentiate Kyen from bunk wood? Or is the only sure-fire way is to smell it? I can barely smell cultivated AB grade wood, I'm not sure if I can differentiate kyen and bunk wood by smell. My nose is still not quite sensitive yet :S

    BTW, I keep getting double posts whenever I use "post quick reply". Are you guys facing the same problem?
     
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  9. kesiro

    kesiro Well-Known Member

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    Yes I am getting double posts as well. I have deleted as many posts as I have kept, lol.
     
  10. kooolaid79

    kooolaid79 Well-Known Member

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    I just received my Jing Shen Lu today. Just sniffing the bottle, I can tell that I going to love this one.
     
  11. m.arif

    m.arif Active Member

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    Mr. Luigi needs to take a look at this. haha. You must be posting a lot kesiro.
     
  12. bhanny

    bhanny Well-Known Member

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    @Kruger - I know you and Ensar will be traveling, or are already traveling, so only when you have the time. Since kyen represents a nicely resinated part of agarwood as you kindly explained, am I correct the scent spectrum depends on the species of wood (amongst other things)? Or does all kyen share some similar element like kinam? Meaning could you identify kyen oils, regardless of origin, just because they are kyen?

    Thank you, hope your travels are safe and fruitful.
     
  13. bhanny

    bhanny Well-Known Member

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    Well alright, just placed my order for Jing Shen Lu! So I will get some first hand experience!
     
  14. m.arif

    m.arif Active Member

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    Enough talking and on with the smelling! Hehe.
     
  15. bhanny

    bhanny Well-Known Member

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    Ha! So true my friend. So true. Can't wait!
     
  16. kesiro

    kesiro Well-Known Member

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    My order is in as well so I can get an idea what you are talking about. Very curious about this one.
     
  17. Kruger

    Kruger Well-Known Member

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    I’m putting together some pictures to show you guys what exactly we’re talking about, but I wanted to quickly touch on some of the questions raised first…

    Take those cylindrical logs you saw Adam use. There you see a seah “crust” wrapped around bunk wood (for the most part), which he then removed to ultimately make it seem hollow. Now, if that seah were to mature even more and thicken and thicken, you’d end up with a solid log with no bunk inside – one big slab of seah. At this stage we start to talk about China Market wood, the kind that can be used for carving…

    Nope. In fact, it took us over four years to separate enough kyen used to distill Satori Kensho, Satori Basho, and Jing Shen Lu. So, most trees actually don’t contain kyen, just as most trees don’t ever mature enough to produce seah.

    In Malaysia, most people use “Kayu minyak” simply to refer to staple oil-grade wood, which in reality is usually a mixture of low-grade lue and white wood.

    Just a quick note: The terminology we use is mostly Thai distillation lingo. Oud distillation is a Far Eastern craft, it’s not European. Just like botanical names are rooted in Latin, or how we buy tea leaves by their Japanese names, the agarwood world has its own system.

    Wherever you go, distillers will call the patterns by different names in different languages. But we’ve found Thai distillation culture more developed than elsewhere and they’ve given names to phenomena you don’t generally find detailed in other places in the oud world. Where ‘kyen’ to the layman in Thailand might simply mean ‘heartwood’, in oud distillation circles it’s a technical term that refers to a very specific kind of heartwood.

    These terms developed in this part of the world and are the terms we personally use. We’ve tried to translate some of the terms over the years (like “sinking-grade” or “incense-grade”) but in the spirit of tradition we use the Thai nomenclature and give our English interpretation where needed.
     
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  18. bhanny

    bhanny Well-Known Member

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    @Kruger - Thank you very much. I feel I am beginning to understand it a bit better. One more question, if left alone to mature, would kyen then eventually become seah? Or is a different developmental process altogether?
     
  19. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    All kyen is bound to turn into seah, and you get some pieces of fantastic wood where the two merge into each other. Seah is the stuff that bubbles on a burner. Kyen is the stuff that gives off smoke without bubbling. A lot of kyara is just really fragrant kyen that never made it to seah.
     
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  20. bhanny

    bhanny Well-Known Member

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    Awesome Ensar. Thanks! Helps a lot. Appreciate you guys answering my questions. Ordered Jing Shen Lu a day or two ago! Interesting on the kyara/kyen thing!
     

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