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July 25, 2023 1 min read


Louching in Astraea's Lab

See this photo? It’s called Louching.

Louching is the term for when water is added to spirits, reducing the ABV and turning the spirits cloudy, milky or opaque. It’s also a technique used in distilling to verify enough heads have been taken. 

Louching can also happen if your spirits have an oversaturation of essential oils. You’ll see it in cocktails and sometimes in finished spirits. But to a real distiller, it can be a mark of poor distillation.

In the distilling process you take three cuts: Heads, hearts and tails. To take the heads cut, you take a sample of the spirit and add equal parts water. The heads cut accounts for removing higher volatiles and, if it louches, you need to go deeper.

All three cuts are a combination of senses and science. A well-trained nose can smell heads (and tails) and a well-trained pallet can taste them. When working in botanicals with an array of essential oils, the louching process is crucial.

This photo is our founder and Master Distiller Danielle Leavell checking Astraea’s heads cut. She’s adapted the technique for her own practices – just one of the many ways we ensure quality and meticulous care go into every drop of our award-winning spirits.