Eau de vie or Kirschwasser. German for “cherry water” or kirsch is a clear, colorless fruit brandy traditionally made from double distillation of morello cherries, a dark-colored cultivar of the sour cherry. However, it is now also made from other kinds of cherries. The cherries are fermented complete (that is, including their stones). Unlike cherry liqueurs and so-called “cherry brandies”, kirschwasser is not sweet.
The best kirschwassers have a refined taste with subtle flavors of cherry and a slight bitter-almond taste that derives from the stones.
An eau de vie (plural, eaux de vie — also spelled eau-de-vie and eaux-de-vie) is a clear, colorless fruit brandy that is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation. The fruit flavor is typically very light.
Ripe fruit is fermented, distilled, and quickly bottled to preserve the freshness and aroma of the parent fruit.
Eaux de vie are typically not aged in wooden casks, hence they are clear.
Although this is the usual practice, some distillers age their products before bottling.