Distillation Pots and Oudh
There are many questions from you guys regarding oudh distillation pots, how they are built and what value they add to the final oudh oil. There are many different pot types and assembly methods used in oudh distillation and some even talk about the age of the pot. How do these contribute to the final oudh oil, if in any way.
Copper and Stainless Steel
Distillation at its foundation is a scientific process, as such there is for the most part reasonable explanation for all parameters involved. All aspects from the water, pressure, the type of material the pot is made from and temperatures applied can all be explained and linked to the final oudh oil. Let us begin with the material that the pots are made from. Commonly in the Oudh world pots are made from 2 main materials, copper and stainless steel.
The traditional pots and the most earliest oudh distillation pots were copper, and this was the material of choice back in the day. It was easy to work with, easily available and it also assisted with the scent profile. That is right, copper distillation pots provide a rounding effect on the oudh oil. The reason for this is; copper has inherent antimicrobial properties. When oudh distillation happens in copper pots the copper will destroy the microbial elements in the process, softening/sweetening the oil. The copper alters the molecules in the microbs, either destroying it directly by contact or de-stablizing the molecules and causing them to break down themselves, ultimately softening the oil, the trade off is a lower yield.
When stainless steel came onto the scene yield was one of the reasons stainless steel was such a hit. Distillers were getting more oil with the same amount of wood using Stainless Steel. The issue with the stainless steel pot is however that it contributes less to the scent profile. Stainless Steel can also have a “stainless steel” scent on the oil when it first collected.
There are different methods distillers can use to remove the scent of the steel, however it is one of the elements for the distiller to manage. The characteristics and properties of the materials used in a pot also determine the sequence in which a pot should be built, how they should be linked into the condenser and there after the collector. There are a few parameters and variables such as the cooling water and the cooling process. All these do contribute to the oil in someway and they also contribute to the cost.