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Smearing occurs when the fractions (Foreshots, Heads, Hearts, Tails) are mixed together. This happens when you run too fast and the column cannot properly separate the fractions clearly. Smearing happens to an extent with all distillates, but when a still is run properly it is easier to make cuts to reduce it. Smearing is either a rookie thing or else an issue with the setup of the still.

Smearing in a Stripping run isn't a concern. Stripping runs tend to be run fast and hot and the fractions are not separated. Separation is then targeted in the Spirit run.