Which cream liqueur wins 14-bottle mystery taste test?

irish cream liqueur reviews

A cream liqueur is a snuggly comfort cushion as the cold winter wind whips around outside. Now its getting cold I asked some of my girlie pals to help me blind-taste 14 cream liqueurs.

They didn’t complain. We’re not industry experts but we’re typical comfort cushion girlies who love a cream liqueur especially at Christmas.

I wrapped all 14 bottles in tin foil and then popped a number on them – don’t worry, by the time it got round to the blind-tasting I’d forgotten which was which.

I gave my pals the rules  – drink lots of water – keep the glasses clean – be honest – write down your scores and your comments.

blind taste test cream liqueur bottles

Then get set, glasses at the ready .. let’s go.  One pal told me afterwards: “I really loved trying all these. Who would have thought they could all taste so different, it was a real eye-opener.”

I couldn’t agree more. There wasn’t much to choose from in the scores once we got beyond the top five, but our girlies’ thoughts were oh so varied.

Let’s move on … here’s our humble, fun and slightly scientific, results. 

Continue reading “Which cream liqueur wins 14-bottle mystery taste test?”

The winning cream liqueur:

Specially Selected Irish Cream, AldiSpecially Selected Irish Cream Liqueur (Aldi £6.99) This was by far and away the winner. When I did the Big Reveal there were plenty of oohs and aahs.

Two pals had been convinced this was Baileys and were quite surprised. I thought it had a little note of citrus – where that came from only knows.

It was powerful on the alcohol, but not as much as a Baileys by comparison. One chum said “this is creamy but not too strong” and another … “very smooth to taste”.

Second place

Baileys Irish Cream LiqueurBaileys Original Irish Cream (several retailers, in Tesco at  £12) This is probably the tipple we all think of when talking Irish creams. I’d challenged all the girls to see if they could spot it when blind-tasting. No-one did.

You don’t realise how much of a kick Baileys has until you try it alongside other creams –  I blindly said it was a gloopy glug of alcohol with a strong final alcohol kickback.

One of the girls said it was  “stronger than it smells” which probably explains why she was gradually leaning into the wall.

Third place

Sainsbury Taste the Difference Irish Cream LiqueurTaste the Difference Irish Cream Liqueur (£10, down from £12 until December 8, Sainsbury, 1 litre)

 “Ugh” said one friend who didn’t like it at all – but her sister declared it was her favourite out of all of the cream liqueurs.

She gave a *thumbs-up*. Although on second thoughts, she might have been trying to hang onto the chair. I thought the cream and some chocolatey notes combined really well. A nice fling with vanilla.

Fourth Place

Delaney's Irish Cream LiqueurDelaney’s Irish Cream Liqueur (£5.99 Co-op, 70cl) This tastes of Christmas! proclaimed one of my pals who should win a Guiding Badge for cream tasting  dedication (if only they did them). 

She described this as having aromas of nutmeg, mingling with vanilla. When she went back to the Delaney’s after tasting all the others, she said she also loved its creaminess.

I thought there was more emphasis on dairy cream than alcohol. One girlie threw a curve ball saying she could smell and taste butterscotch. I tried again – and you know, I did too.

Fifth Place

Feeney's Irish Cream LiqueurFeeney’s Irish Cream Liqueur  (£10, reduced from £12 until December 8, Tesco, 70cl) Feeney’s won a Platinum award and ‘Best in Class’ at the 2015 SIP Awards. It might not have been best in class with my ladies, but it was definitely holding its hand up and winning praise.

I thought it was a pick-me-up luxury in a glass, and our dedicated sipper said “it tastes of cocoa and is very rich”.  One of the sisters picked it as her favourite out of the bunch and said “lovely like Ovaltine!”

Though I don’t know what one of the girls  was doing, as she wrote “the alcohol goes up your nose”. Well – this was the 14th disguised bottle in the taste test line-up.

Co-op wines can be truly irresistible as gold awards prove

Truly Irresistible Bio Bio Malbec review

I prodded, thumped and squeezed various cuts of meat last Saturday only for the heavens to open when the barbecue was lit. Ah well. The British summer always catches us out.

One thing was a certainty – the Co-op wines I’d taken to a friend’s were always going to please.

Truly Irresistible Bio Bio Valley Malbec (£6.99, Co-op) is a stunner and has won Gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards.

As the barbie finally took hold, there was a fair bit of sprinting in and out of the rain to turn skewer-spiked lamb I’d marinated in harissa paste, mint and lime juice. While they spluttered and sparked, the Chilean malbec held centre stage.

This wine is power-packed with silky dark cherries and blackberries; it is clothed in vanilla and has edges of peppercorns and hints of herbs. It was perfect with the spicy lamb kebabs – a truly fabulous red for less than £7.

The Co-op has also scooped Decanter gold with Domaine les Grandes Costes Pic Saint Loup 2012 (£14.99) a blend of syrah (80%) with grenache and cinsault as the backroom boys.

Judges said “this is a wine you just want to drink more of” – a scenario I don’t have a problem with.

There’s a punnet of perfect plums and layers of spice mingle and tickle in the mouth.

Staying at the Co-op, it has added Truly Irresistible Greco (£6.99) to its range; and oddly for a summer release, the label is more akin to Halloween. With a nod to 1950s B-lister horror films, the label’s illustration has a woman screaming, a villain emerging from a crypt and the declaration: “The Co-operative Wines Proudly Present Grecula (Greco 2014)” “pale, haunting, crypt-cold and chilling”.

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Erm. Right, OK. The Greco grape is known locally as Grecula – which explains the Co-op’s artistic inclination. The wine is lemon-rich with stone fruits and clothed in honey. The label is a bit of fun from the marketing folks but I wonder if it cheapens the image of a wine which is simple and pleasant.

Also in my glass

Josmeyer Pinot Blanc Mise du Printemps 2014 (£11.50, The Wine Society) – Such a pretty label and a pretty wine. Both are the creative vision of winemaker Isabelle Josmeyer. It’s a summer treat, perfect with prawns or grilled chicken. I enjoyed with a ginger-flecked veggie stir fry. Citrus pulses through this wine, there’s vibrant lemons and a crunch of pear too.

If you like your barbecue reds to stand up against burnt chipolatas, then William Hardy Langhorne Creek Shiraz (RRP £9.99 various retailers) could be for you. It is an Oz shiraz which isn’t backward in coming forward. Blackberries and pepper aren’t shy on all the senses.

Finally, I admire the concept of new wine club Sip & Learn which was set up by two friends. One of them, Marie-Anne Onraed sent me the first box in their “education” series. It’s an introduction to the differences between aromatic and non-aromatic wines. The box included Sauvignon Blanc Touraine Chateau Gaillard 2013 (£9.50 if you buy separately from sipandlearn.co.uk) and Chardonnay Domaine Corin Pouilly-Fuissé Les Chevrieres 2011 (£20.50). A booklet explains the grapes, key facts and tasting notes.

The Loire Valley sauvignon blanc is fruity and grassy with a river running through it; the Pouilly-Fuissé from the southern part of Burgundy has pear, apples, hazlenuts and vanilla with a dry finish. A good contrast between the two wines for people on a learning curve.

It is £30 a month, which is a chunk, but if you want to try good wines, it may be worth a punt.

Published in the saturday extra magazine July 18, 2015

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