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Science Or Art?

EJayB

True Ouddict
The real word is “craft” It takes real skill and knowledge to operate a professional distillery same with any lab really, some chemist are better at the craft then others ,able to produce higher Yields of better quality. I currently use 2 different labs for my cannabis extraction process. Both have a chemist with a masters degree and honestly they are using the same equipment but they are not getting the same product or yield. It’s not even close !
Crafting and craftsmanship are what sets apart the chemist that and equipment! Can you have your glassware customized to your needs? What distillers are professional glassblowers?
I made my glass who made yours?
Who came up with a double cleavenger?
I put a short stack condenser with a solvent recovery head On top so I can collect oils that condense at different temps at the same time , vapor condensation collection. I craft my oils and study my process it’s science for sure but all the Science knowledge Is not locked up at the university and trade secrets are real , custom equipment fabrication is a struggle and not all types of Materials are distilled the same.
Somebody show me your double collection clevenger and explanation of where you found it? Why you have it and how it affects the quality of your oud oil.? It is science but.....
They go to an artest to have the equipment made(craft)
So I say CRAFTSMAN Instead of artest May be closer to the reality
 

Castingshadows

True Ouddict
Wonder how many people currently distilling agarwood actually have any kind of degree in extractions and separations chemistry? Clearly people are able to produce an excellent oils regardless that's clear as day. BUT If you think this doesn't matter, you are just falling back on antiquated archaic thinking i believe.

Go ahead and try to make your own wine "artisanally" maybe if you spend 15 years at it you will be getting a feel to be able to produce a mediocre artisanal wine.

I'd be more interested in the kind of Artisanal that actually starts with an understanding of the science, and applies it in an artistic way. Which may be what everybody's doing as far as I know because what do I know. But I think some people Portray an image that they are kind of bumbling around artistically and then claiming miracles when they make something decent that anybody with some chemistry training could easily reproduce and probably improve on given materials and scent awareness.

I'm sorry but I really do feel that the word "Artisanal" is something that certain vendors amplify to create a false sense of value, to differentiate something Couldn't really be differentiated based on what it actually was.

Royal supreme imperial vintage kinam kyara are all worn out. What was left? Artisanal! One of a kind!!! You can honestly say no one will ever be able to make it again because You don't really understand what you did maybe? I suppose it's honest at least.


I don’t think anyone has the impression that these distillers are bumbling around just kinda sorta making magic happen. I’d imagine there’s a fine tuned process that’s been going on since the beginning of distillation that’s a result of trial and error which allows some distillers to advance their craft while others are legitimately in the dark. It’s almost insulting to assume that all distillers are merely ignorant craftsmen barely able to handle the trade they’ve dedicated their lives to.
 

Castingshadows

True Ouddict
The real word is “craft” It takes real skill and knowledge to operate a professional distillery same with any lab really, some chemist are better at the craft then others ,able to produce higher Yields of better quality. I currently use 2 different labs for my cannabis extraction process. Both have a chemist with a masters degree and honestly they are using the same equipment but they are not getting the same product or yield. It’s not even close !
Crafting and craftsmanship are what sets apart the chemist that and equipment! Can you have your glassware customized to your needs? What distillers are professional glassblowers?
I made my glass who made yours?
Who came up with a double cleavenger?
I put a short stack condenser with a solvent recovery head On top so I can collect oils that condense at different temps at the same time , vapor condensation collection. I craft my oils and study my process it’s science for sure but all the Science knowledge Is not locked up at the university and trade secrets are real , custom equipment fabrication is a struggle and not all types of Materials are distilled the same.
Somebody show me your double collection clevenger and explanation of where you found it? Why you have it and how it affects the quality of your oud oil.? It is science but.....
They go to an artest to have the equipment made(craft)
So I say CRAFTSMAN Instead of artest May be closer to the reality


Excellent point brother. What’s the difference between art and crafts? Functionality. That’s it. A true craftsmen tailors tools time their experience in order for the finished product to have a functional end result. Artistry is merely the direct interpretation of Human and physical experience with apparent function outside of perception.

Craftsmen all the way!
 

sabahan

Whats this Oud About?
I’m an artist I see art. You’re a scientist you see science. We’re both right.

Well said Castingshadows. I share your thoughts as well. While we may have strong and valid opinions on this, I encourage everyone to also see things from another’s perspective and recognize that we all see things based on our own internal frames of references. One mans science is another mans art. One opinion doesn’t negate the other, and both are right.

I also like to add that the reality is not everything in this world is perfectly understood, and the more we know, the more we realize how much we don’t know, (Dunning-Kruger effect).

Although I come from a science background, I have tremendous respect for artists, and in many ways consider arts to be far more rigorous and harder than science. And if the vendors and all the folks involved in the craft consider themselves artists, I completely validate this and appreciate and acknowledge all the years of hard work, study, effort and continual refinement you have made to fine-tune your craft.

This is a great discussion btw Abu Amir, thank you for initiating such a though-provoking discussion. May you and your family, and the great people of Palestine always be blessed.
 

Mr.P

Evoloudtionary Bioudlogist
I don’t think anyone has the impression that these distillers are bumbling around just kinda sorta making magic happen. I’d imagine there’s a fine tuned process that’s been going on since the beginning of distillation that’s a result of trial and error which allows some distillers to advance their craft while others are legitimately in the dark. It’s almost insulting to assume that all distillers are merely ignorant craftsmen barely able to handle the trade they’ve dedicated their lives to.


Agreed. Only making assumptions about folks who can't articulate their methods and fall back on Artisanal as opposed to technical stuff


Ejayb Kind of nailed it it's like a combination of technical skill plus enough care and attention and experience to produce a quality product craftsmanship is a great word. All the technical skill in the world is fine but if you don't know what a good agarwood oil smells like you may choose the wrong parameters and fail to produce some thing that people love. Likewise you might be able to make some thing that someone loves without measuring anything but if you're ever interested to reproduce it you won't be able to as well. So it's a balance and I know that's obvious But I don't think that came across my earlier post emphasizing the scientific side
 

Andrew Salkin

it's aboud time!
Staff member
I mean, are wine producers artists? Cheese producers?

Ultimately it's having the knowledge and making a series of choices - those choices can be seen as technical but since there isn't just one technical route, that's where creativity comes in. And with creativity, you have artistry.

I remember being in middle school grammer class and asking my teacher why we needed to know all these confusing ideas about writing.

She said, once you know all the rules, then you can start breaking them.

I think that applies here - I'm pretty sure folks like ASO know many different distillation techniques. When they set eyes on a batch of wood, their experience allows them to do a Malcolm Gladwell style "blink" - determining the best techniques, tools, pots, water, glass, heat, time, collection, curing, and aging.

More to my point, take for example ensars oriscent oils - which despite running the gammut from Vietnam to fili oils, each carries with it a unique "oriscent" signature. That signature I don't think is found in oils produced by other distillers.

For the breaking bad fans in the room - think about Walter Whites blue meth - that could even be thought of as art! A scientific process, sure. But decisions to use a relatively obscure precurser, and absolutely uncompromising sterile and precise procedure lead to an end product that was uniquely his and no one else could reproduce it!

Or what about computer programming. Also highly "scientific" in nature - but at the upper echelons, those at the top of their class are producing genius "art" with the elegance of their code.

I just don't think it's black and white....
 

DubOudh

Aster Oudh
So after pages and pages of highly specialized and intellectual and informative posts over this subject.....it turns out it can be most eloquently put down in writing......on a Tee shirt.....!!
Modern era in a nutshell....:)
So we are all agreed then......In that case I think all contributors/Ouddicts should move on to the UN...cause I hear they have a few issues need solving....Lets go!!...:D
 

Abu Amir

True Ouddict
So...akh...did we pass your test?
Try a political or religious question for your next test...obviously with an Oudh dimension involved...:Cautious:
:Roflmao::Roflmao:
Hahahaha u know brother i was writing in abother thread and saw it was in this and i coluld not delet so i delet text and write test. I am not good in forum navigation
 

Djohn

Whats this Oud About?
Hey guys, thought I had to throw in my 5 cents worth as both an oud lover and a scientist.

I generally agree with what our friend Abu has said in that distillation is a science. However I have a few qualms with the statement that oud distillation is purely a science, and has no resemblance to an art.

let me lay down my argument as he will likely insist on. And an analogy at the end.

From my limited understanding of distillations there are several factors affecting the end scent. I’m sure I may/will be corrected on my understanding.

0: choice of trees; which species, degree of fungal infection, age of fungal infection
1: terrior; the location of which the crop is found,
2: the choice to ferment or not and if so for how long; formation of additional chemicals
3: where this soaking water is from, trace minerals may effect bacterial growth hence the byproducts created
4:the resident bacteria etc in the locale may affect the formation of different byproducts
5: the quality and material of the stills, copper, stainless steel, glass etc copper use for example in alcohol distillation can catalyst effects of change to sulphide content of resulting drinks, so they might react to the different fragrance molecules as well.
6: method of aging, be it to remove additional water or to induce a certain level of oxidization

And you have your finial product.

the art I believe is not in the science of distillation only. But from the selection of the above to achieve a specific goal in the artist mind.

Even if you manage to recreate a distillation by copying exactly the methods above, it would be like Mona Lisa you described, still be a copy.

The promised analogy, you may not drink but considering all whisky of a certain type is made from the same starter materials why do they not all taste the same? Likewise it is a distillation of organic materials post fermentation, likewise I would argue there is an art involved beyond distillation.

peace my friend, no bad blood just a scientist sharing his views with a fellow scientist.
I also do not distill so I’m sure your insights are much deeper than mine in actual application.
 

Mr.P

Evoloudtionary Bioudlogist
But if you choose your parameters based on careful observation and knowledge about cause and effect, that's science! Is there a science to art? No doubt. :).

Maybe the question that must be answered first is what do these terms mean (art and science), and are they mutually exclusive always?
 

EJayB

True Ouddict
Art can be a form of unexplained scientific understanding.
to achieve certain conditions requires technical understanding as well as practical mechanical knowledge.
different types of equipment give different results. Just knowing how something is done doesn’t mean you can actually do it .
the whole soak process is an art of its own!
Some of its ugly ( like art) some beautiful.
Are there styles? Of course!
I like to cook my oud for 12 hours and pull off my top fraction ( kills any bacteria) then let it sit for a week under air lock to get a non fermented soak to loosen the fibers in the wood and then I fire it back up and finish the distillation.
It’s art(magic) till you tell someone how you did it!
once everyone knows they call it science!
 

Djohn

Whats this Oud About?
But if you choose your parameters based on careful observation and knowledge about cause and effect, that's science! Is there a science to art? No doubt. :).

Maybe the question that must be answered first is what do these terms mean (art and science), and are they mutually exclusive always?
This is my own definition: I see science as a method to question and find answers, engineering a method to use those answers to create tools, art is a method to realize a concept or ideal with the use of those tools.

Art does not work in the black and white realm that we scientist are so used to.
Unless you are talking about quantum physics which is a whole other mess..hahaha

for example, an artist might create something that many people like and some don’t. Is it the best or is it not? There is no definite answer.
It’s like a way someone choose to express their concept of beauty of perfection even.

Where as a scientist seeks truth, pure water at sea level boils at 100 deg C. There is no question.

so yes to answer your question I think they are both exclusive, can a scientist be artistic too? Look no further than the creator of the Mona Lisa the honorable Leonard de Vinci.
who found truth in the human form. And created engineering feats that are till today admired for the foresight of his time.
So yea exclusive, but it does not mean one cannot do both.
 
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