> What I would like to ask is, do I still have to to use distilled
> water,taking into account its passing through the carbon.
It depends on how clean your other water is. I have a small under-bench
filter fitted on our regular tap water, which really makes it nice to drink
- so I use that water. It all comes back to if YOU are happy or not with
> In the future its possible I may use Prestige essences. If I
> dilute to 50% before passing through the filter, there's not a lot of
> space for essence to bring it to 40%.
True - particularly if you want to make liqueurs with sugar in them, and
prefer to disolve the sugar in water over low heat before you add it.
Adding the water before you filter reduces the solubility of the cogeners
in the ethanol, and thus makes it easier for the carbon to grab them. So
if you carbon at a higher %, then it may not quite do as good a job. But
you can judge this yourself - the purpose is to clean the spirit to a level
that YOU are happy with. If the carbon isn't going to be doing such a
great job, why not leave the two of them in contact for longer - eg rather
than use a pass-through filter, leave them soaking together. Myself - I
now leave my distillate at 80-95%, but sitting on carbon. It may be there
for months before I decant off the 1/2L or so that I need, as I need it. I
dont think theres a problem with the taste this way. (ps - the reason I
often dilute down to just 80% is to keep the maths easy - I make a lot of
my stuff at 40%, thus I only need 50/50 to then get there). By having
washed the carbon 4-5 times in boiling water before using it, all the dust
is gone, and it settles very clear very fast - no need to filter it again
before I use it -can just tip it off the top and it is crystal clear.