‘Making the cut’ refers to the process of switching tanks. Our Alambic pot still has three tank attachments, designed to capture different parts of the run. While running the pot still, which could be continuously for 10 days, there are certain points in the process when you switch from tank to tank.
The first part of the run is called the ‘heads’. It’s the highest alcohol. You wouldn’t want to drink this straight but you want to capture pieces of it, for adding complexity to the finished product.
The second part is called the ‘hearts’. These are the middle notes and are the most balanced.
The third and last part is called the ‘tails’. These are the lower notes and thicker in texture. Just like the heads, you don’t want a lot of tails, but you want just enough for the right level of texture to your finished product.
How do you determine when to ‘make the cut’? The critical decision point is driven by taste and smell. This is the art form of distilling that you can’t learn in a text book. Only a trained palate and nose can taste or smell anything over 100 proof, let alone create a masterpiece of deliciousness.