Kyen

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

  1. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    I meant the old thread title....... What do I care what the original vendor said? I see kyen, I say kyen. It doesn't take bullying to prove if wood sinks or not. You can simply ask @AZsmell to put his wood in water. :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
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  2. AZsmell

    AZsmell Active Member

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    I actually posted it in the wrong thread. I purchased this as 2nd grade and Taha never claimed what I bought was sinking grade.
     
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  3. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    And I'm very sorry you had to say that. I never meant to disrespect your wood, but was merely complimenting you on a lovely piece of wild, centennial kyen as I originally said.
     
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  4. kesiro

    kesiro Well-Known Member

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    Ok, so I am getting really confused. @AZsmell posts a pic of Cumingiana wood which actually has quite a bit of resin visible and it is classified as Kyen. Strictly by its visual appearance on a pic. Not weight, density, sinking, burning a chip to see if it bubbles, etc.
    This wood, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1248410661928506 , also Cumingiana, is reportedly all sinking grade. It does not apper to be nearly as resinated as the Pinoy wood. Can we also call it kyen by the way it looks in the picture?
    Sinking grade = incense grade, which ≠ oil grade (kyen), right? (Incense grade being many levels superior to oil grade) And knowing from reading your posts, et al, that incense grade does not need to be all sinking, how reliable is it to look at a species like Cumingiana in a pic and accurately classify it?
    I am asking strictly out of some serious confusion and wanting to get my bearings straight.
     
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  5. 5MeO

    5MeO Well-Known Member

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    Not sure Kesiro - but one thing I can tell, is that some agarwood has a lot of oil AND a lot of resin - perhaps this counts as "kyen" due to the oil content? I have some exceedingly fine West Borneo agarwood that is sinking grade, very resinated, but when you break a piece off to reveal the cross section, you can see a lot of oil also..

    Meanwhile, I have other agarwood that has spotty areas of dense resin, surrounded by what appears to be low oil content white wood.. A piece like this might be less resinated in general than the above mentioned high resin/high oil content wood.
     
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  6. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    That's the name of the game, brother. You do this day in and day out, you don't need to chew on every piece of wood you see on the internet to understand what you're looking at. Think spines and guitars; you can probably tell a heckuva lot more about them just looking at a picture than the average oud distiller…

    Here are the Shaykh's own words about the Maluku wood you referenced from Facebook:

    You don't need to be a distiller to recognize that wood is so chock-full 'o resin you'd need pliers to break it in half. (Or maybe you do?) :p

    In case the photo was not clear enough, here's a video of the same wood:



    Unlike Sidna's Pinoy, this is red resin agarwood. The Pinoy looks greenish with the potential to turn black if left alone long enough. The Maluku can at best turn terracotta red. And it has. It wouldn't turn black (the commonly recognized color of high resin content) if you left it to mature for a thousand years.

    Looking at the picture of Adeel's wood, I'm willing to bet it's not the same species as my Maluku. (Keep in mind, the species is the 'Cumingiana' bit in 'Aquilaria Cumingiana'. Once you argue there's yet more sub-species beyond that, what you're really saying is it's a different genus.) These are completely unrelated trees. There's more in common with the Pinoy and New Guinea gyrinops than there is with the Maluku.

    Wrong. Sinking grade = higher resin content, lesser oil content which ≠ kyen which = higher oil, lesser resin content. I never said the wood is not incense-grade. In fact, if you go back and check, I said some yellow looking types of kyen are much more fragrant than the blackest, most resinous chunks of wood coming out of the jungle nowadays. I can see where the confusion is coming from, now. You're using the words 'resin' and 'incense' interchangeably. They're not synonymous. While a higher resin-content wood is more likely to qualify as incense-grade than a higher oil-content wood, that's not an absolute rule. I mentioned before that there are some really nice types of kyen that can sell for a lot of money. And they smell more fragrant than the blackest wood. It doesn't mean they are 'oil-grade' and not 'incense-grade' just because they're kyen and they look like it. What it means is, they may contain a lot more oil than they do resin, as opposed to 'seah' wood, which contains much more resin than oil.

    Kyen is a good thing, doc. Kyen is not a bad thing. And Adeel clarified the wood was not sinking-grade anyway, which is exactly in keeping with my assessment. It proves that I was right in judging the "weight, density, sinking, etc" from the picture, and not wrong. I don't get what the problem is?

    Sheesh! Hanging out with Sidi S. can really have an impact, eh @Taha? :p
     
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  7. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    Things are never black-and-white. One of the biggest mistakes we make in this community is the presumption that everything is cut with a Cambodian chisel, separating every granule of kyen from the hard, dense seah the Arab market is looking for. One of my friends in Taiwan only heats up wood that wouldn't be worth a farthing in Saudi or Qatar. But that's another subject. What I mean to say is, 'kyen' doesn't mean the wood contains no resin. And 'seah' doesn't mean it contains no oil. Even early-stage plantation kyen contains resin. And even the hardest nuggets of centennial black tar, where you'd think the resin almost wants to start oozing out, contain oil.

    Take this as a general rule: Where there's oil, there's resin. Where there's resin, there's oil. The ratios fluctuate, but it is almost impossible to have a piece of kyen without some sort of resin content. And it is impossible to have a solid slab of seah without some sort of oil content. They go hand-in-hand.

    I can say a lot more, but here's the boundary between educating the consumer and providing premium cat food to my copycats. :p
     
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  8. kesiro

    kesiro Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for taking the time to respond. I have really tried to take in every detail. Since I do not deal with such woods day in and day out, I am relegated to learning from those with experience and expertise. My curiosity is strictly my own, as a lover of wood, woodworker, and scientist at heart. So when I hear conflicting information, it creates an inner urge to sort it out.
    We can agree your Maluku is Cumingiana, and the Pinoy wood we are discussing is represented to also be Cumingiana. Yet, you suggest it is not. Potentially that it is a different genus. How can one make that determination? Is it ignorance of the vendor who sold the wood or is it an intention to mislead by claiming it is Aquilaria Cumingiana, knowing it is not? Furthermore, you state that the pinoy is closer to Gyrynops. I have seen many more pics of that wood and it looks way different to my eyes. The pics of gyrynops I have seen are usually very dark and different looking. And I have smelled several oils of each species and to my nose the maluku and the pinoy oils are a LOT closer scent-wise to each other then to any of the numerous gyrynops oils I tried. So I am sorry but my confusion is still present.
     
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  9. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    That is all very elegantly worded, doc. Thank you for writing that. Reminds me very much of Dostoevsky. :)

    That we can never agree on. Being a deconstructionist by nature and studies, I generally have little interest in sounds from a dead tongue and their arbitrary relationship to trees in a forest. It is, at best, a very haphazard science and I have time and again voiced my distaste for it. Again, I don't expect everyone to become a student of poststructuralism in order to appreciate that a Latin sound which you haphazardly slap on a tree has absolutely no rooting in reality. It is merely a mental tool to compartmentalize chaos. The mind assigns random sounds to trees so it can better make sense of created being. The trees do not have name tags with Latin letters on them. They just are. Dasein, as my least favorite philosopher would have called it.

    "All at once the veil is torn away, I have understood, I have seen… The roots of the chestnut tree sank into the ground just beneath my bench. I couldn't remember it was a root anymore. Words had vanished and with them the meaning of things, the ways things are to be used, the feeble points of reference which men have traced on their surface. I was sitting, stooping over, head bowed, alone in front of this black, knotty lump, entirely raw, frightening me." – Sartre, Nausea

    I do not suggest that the Pinoy is not Cumingiana. I suggest that if the Maluku is Cumingiana, then the Pinoy is Pumingiana. Or if the Pinoy is Cumingiana, then the Maluku is Mumingiana. I suggest that they are not the same tree.

    Most vendors are not taxonomists, and most taxonomists are not vendors. Out of the millions upon millions of agarwood dollars traded each year, not a single splinter of wood is sold based on a Latin name. It is a fantasy of the Western consumer that fancy Latin sounds connect certain trees from radically different locales. In the real world, Maluku wood is sold as 'Maluku', Borneo is 'Borneo', and Papua is 'Papua'. None of my teachers has ever shown me a piece of wood and said, this is what Microcarpa smells like. Or, this is Beccariana. Ask a Japanese master about the Latin name of the piece of wood he's showing you in a Kodo session… His blank stare would be quite telling.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  10. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    Before we address this question, I'd like to give you a little deconstructionist puzzle to think about. Suppose there's a tiny island right off the coast of Cambodia. Politically, it belongs to Vietnam. You can see the island if you stand on the shore in Cambodia. You can't see it from the shore in Vietnam. They find agarwood on this island. Is it Cambodian or Vietnamese?
     
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  11. kesiro

    kesiro Well-Known Member

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    Depends on the mindset of the answerer. If the only concern is whether you call the wood by the country which currently lays stake to this land (as i gather the from your previous post which implies the kodo masters do ("borneo is Borneo, Papua is Papua, etc"), then the Agarwood is Vietnamese.
    According to my analytical brain mindset, I would try to look at the Agarwood trees on this island; the leaves, flowers, bark, wood itself (color, texture, resin, scent etc). and compare to the trees in the other 2 country's and see what I got. Maybe it is simiar to one or the other, maybe to neither. In other words, analyze, assess and describe accordingly.
    Ultimately, what I come up is irrelavant since I do not procure or distill agarwood/agarwood oil. So the nomenclature/classification of the final product is based on the distillers either arbitrary OR more scientific determination of what they tell us, the consumers.

    PS: I think the kodo masters do not use Latin because they don’t know it:D
     
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  12. Larry K.

    Larry K. Active Member

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    Nah! That’s clearly a piece of red cedar. Ensar gave the game away when he said he got it from his (cedar) closet.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
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  13. Larry K.

    Larry K. Active Member

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    Ensar, does that mean the oil that Taha distilled from that Philippine wood is likely to give a good lesson in the smell of kyen? Like just about everybody I didn’t understand that that the wood was a rare chance. I did grab a tiny bit of the oil. Should I place this oil in the teaching section of my personal Osmotheque?
     
  14. AZsmell

    AZsmell Active Member

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    The interesting thing about my wood is that it has a subtle smell without even burning it.
    I don't have a large wood collection but none of the others have any smell.
    Ensar I would love to have a piece of that Maluku wood to compare to what I have.
     
  15. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    It's actually Indonesian sandalwood. Timor.
    Here's a picture of it next to a slab of Papuan sandal.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    Heck no. If he distilled his oil from that same wood, it's likely to give a good lesson in the smell of amazing oud. If only all oils were distilled from such wood. We'd have a very different kind of oud scene. :(

    Regarding the 'smell of kyen', there's really no such thing. Unless you zoom into each specific region and contrast between oils that were distilled from, say, mainly lue (e.g. Oud Yusuf) and kyen (e.g. Jing Shen Lu). Each region's kyen has a unique smell, and there is no olfactory correlation between them. Grade-wise, all things being equal, they'd be the same. But the notes would be distinct, in keeping with the region.

    Finally, if you grabbed a tiny bit of the oil, I'd swap you a sample of any oil you like for an equal size sample of it. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  17. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    Ouch. If it's giving off scent without burning it means you're 'losing weight'. Expose all wood to air for long enough and there'll come a point where the room temp aroma is no longer detectable. Unless you follow the @Oud Learner protocol and store it in airtight glass jars. If your other wood doesn't have a scent, it probably means it was harvested quite a while before the Pinoy.

    You might want to give @~A Coburn a shout and see if he has any Maluku 1996 sitting around at the office. It probably won't be sinking though. The sinking batch in the jar is part of my 'keeps' collection. It, too, has an aroma at room temperature despite being such an old harvest. I was going to take it out of the jar to take better close-ups when I remembered it took me almost an hour to fit it all into that jar. I have a few bigger pieces that wouldn't fit, which I haven't found a large enough jar for, so I may take some shots of those instead and share them later.
     
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  18. Rasoul S

    Rasoul S Well-Known Member

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    For what is worth and just my two cents:
    I too was under the impression kyen in all its forms is still below seah qualitatively speaking and also has higher oud oil yields. One exception and the only one is kinam which is a kyen that managed to age for a very long time without turning to resin.

    I also was under the understanding that while there is oil in seah wood, there is NO resin in kyen cause not enough time has passed to have resin formed.

    Why am I under that understanding? It was based from knowledge shared on this site for sure as I don’t recall distillers active on Ouddict forum touching the subject. Now who where what how? I don’t have the time to go back and find exact quotes. Perhaps and also equally likely may be the case that I misunderstood in the first place and was down a wrong path of fundemental understanding.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  19. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    Yes, kyen is below seah qualitatively. Though it's not black-and-white. There are gradations and numerous variables. The kyara you mentioned is a great hyperbole to illustrate the possibilities. In certain circles, we rank wood higher and higher on the scale the more oil it contains. Of course, it has to go hand-in-hand with resin content and offer some sort of out-of-body experience when put on heat, but that is beside the point. Kyen is still great wood to own, heat and distill.

    Please keep in mind: Most agarwood oils are distilled from feedstock that falls FAR below kyen on the grading scale. What we term 'oil grade' or 'kayu minyak' etc does not even begin to approach kyen. Once you have solid pieces of kyen, the wood is sold as 'wood for wood's sake' – not as 'wood to make oil'. There's a huge gap between the two.

    Most wood that gets sold in the Gulf is just 'cosmetically enhanced' kyen. When buying wild kyen to distill, we're not competing with other distillers. No one buys wild kyen to make oil, save for maybe one or two crazy people you're in contact with. People buy kyen to paint, wax, polish, buff, perfume, smoke up and sell as incense. Without kyen, the GCC wood market would have gone dry a long time ago.

    I thought the same thing. I even heard from colleagues experimenting with yield-boosting techniques that the techniques wouldn't work unless the wood contained resin. Until we fiddled around with resin extraction and discovered otherwise. You can extract resin from oil-grade wood, shavings, kyen, etc which we would have never believed to contain resin prior to this experiment. This doesn't contradict anything. It merely goes to show what I was trying to emphasize before, that there are no black-and-white absolute laws in this, where the presence of the one denotes the absence of the other. There are marketing agendas – starting with mine – that crumble to the ground when you properly take in what I said on the Raw Resin page. It is what it is, and I'm not going to twist or hide anything so I can make a sale.

    Think of it this way: If you assume that the wood MUST have a high seah content in order for the oil to smell like that same seah on low heat, you're also saying those oils which remind you of green kyara on low heat – starting with my own Royal Kinam, Kyara LTD, etc – must've been extracted from proper green kyara or they wouldn't smell like that. It simply doesn't work that way. The essential oil that goes on to become resin does contain the olfactory DNA of the same resin it would solidify into 10-100 years down the line. Granted, it will never boast the same depth or complexity, but the DNA is the same.

    We are all learning new things every day, brother. What we learn today contradicts what we held as true yesterday. This is neither algebra nor logic. It's more like nutrition and art. The theories of today supplant and expand those of yesterday. New technologies make way for groundbreaking discoveries. New techniques change the whole game. We learn as we go along. This is a good thing.
     
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  20. 5MeO

    5MeO Well-Known Member

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    Also important to know that the gradations are referring to resin density NOT scent quality. Labels like AA, AAA, double super, triple super, sinking, king super - those are all just measures of how resinated the wood is - they say nothing about how amazing it will smell when heated.. As I've gone in my agarwood collecting I pay much less attention to the resin-density grade and just focus on the scent profile..
     
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