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.

I taste-test low alcohol beer. Which one wins?

low alcohol beers taste test review

AS I write I have five glasses of low alcohol beer next to me and a packet of salted crisps.  This is one of my scientific experiments which would not bear the scrutiny of a Nobel judging panel.

I can’t /won’t give up alcohol for the month; the least I can do is try and reduce my alcohol levels. I sent my beloved on a shopping trip while I did the ironing (that last bit is as rare as hen’s teeth; as rare as me drinking low alcohol beer out of choice).

low alcohol beers taste test reviewThe result? Five samples of beer – all 2.8% abv or under, chosen randomly from nearby stores: Tesco, Aldi, Lidl, the Co-op and Asda. (Some beers are sold in several stores; I quote the price we paid and equivalent by litre.)

Aldi: Brasserie Biere Blonde Lager, £1.99 a pack for eight 250ml “stubbie” bottles (2.6% abv, 99p per litre)

Asda: Labatt Blue, £2.50 for four 440ml cans; (2.8% abv, £1.42 per litre)

Lidl: Nobelaner Pilsner £2.49 for 10 250ml bottles, (2.6% abv, £1 per litre)

Tesco: Becks Premier Light, £4 for six 355ml bottles (2.3% abv, £1.88 per litre)

The Co-op: Carlsberg Citrus £2 for four 275ml bottles (2.8% abv, £1.80 per litre)

APPEARANCE

I glugged a good burst of all the beers into glasses. Aldi’s Blonde still had a thin foam 15 minutes later, which reinvigorated with a swish. Becks Light was the quickest to lose its hold on a thin white hat and the swirl test had as much impact as Agadoo on the classical music charts. Following the Blonde in staying power was the Nobelaner, then the Labatts and the Carlsberg Citrus.

THE TASTE TEST

Brasserie Biere Blonde: Light golden colour, sweet malt on the nose, and to taste, slightly thin but a malt character. In-the-mouth fizz faded quickly. Despite winning the froth test, we say for “blonde” you should read “bland”.

Labatt Blue: My better half thought it had a “wonderful” aroma with a slight sweetness to taste and a hint of bitterness. It reminded me of a wet tin can. With ready salted crisps… well, everything improves with crisps don’t you think?

Nobelaner Pilsner: He says: Clean malt in taste, with fresh malt and a light bitter finish. I say: I could actually drink quite a lot of this. With a good chill, the bitter finish is fairly long-lasting and refreshing, none of the ‘wet metal’ of the Labatt.

Becks: He says: The Becks delivers a decent taste, not quite like drinking a proper pint though. The first sip is very crisp and the beer has a distinct bite to it compared to the Blonde which feels like drinking water. As you drink the beer it is refreshing and you soon forget it is low alcohol. I say: I agree. The best of the bunch. Perfect with a handful of ready salted.

Carlsberg Citrus: I say: imagine weak lager shandy with a sliced lime in it. Sweet and lemonadey (even though it is lime. It’s a citrus thing.) Of all the drinks, it was the one which kept the in-the-mouth fizz the longest. He said he wouldn’t even consider tasting it.

OUR RATINGS

Becks low alcohol beer taste test reviewHe says: 1) Becks 2) Labatts 3) Nobelaner 4) Blonde 5 ) Carlsberg.
I say: 1) Becks 2) Nobelaner 3) Blonde 4) Carlsberg 5) Labatts.

So Becks is the winner.

These drinks were more palatable than I expected (when chilled). But that’s what two weeks of over-indulgence does.

Published in the saturday extra magazine January 11, 2014

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

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