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.
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.
The winning cream liqueur:
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”.
Baileys 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.
Taste 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.
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.
Feeney’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.
A cheeky chum sneaked in a couple of extra tastes of this (no hiding place when I’m there) and said “I really like this one – it has a very chocolatey flavour”.
It reminded one pal of Horlicks, with added chocolate … but then another said it “was quite bland”. Ah, its so interesting how we all have likes and dislikes.
Rum Chata Cream Liqueur (£10, Asda, 50cl) I was a bit cheeky putting this one in the mix. I challenged the ladies to spot this Caribbean rum cream liqueur. Not everyone did and it produced a mixed bag on the scores.
I thought it was soapy at first, but my word after a couple of sips it was pretty moreish.
One pal, abandoning the wall and now sitting down, said it looked and smelled like gingerbread and was a perfect “Christmassy cream”.
Another described “marzipan” and one of the sisters considered, then declared it had a toasted coconut macaroon flavour and was “nice and different”.
Here’s the other cream liqueur placings:
8th: Deluxe Irish Cream Liqueur (£6.99 Lidl) 9th: Aldi Ballycastle Irish Cream (£3.99) 10th: Causeway Coast Superior Irish Cream Liqueur (£7.50, Asda, 70cl ) 11th: Merlyn Welsh Cream Liqueur (£10, Tesco, 70cl) 12th: Chocolate Yule Log Irish Cream Liqueur (£11, M&S) 13th: Irish Meadows (Morrisons, £5.08, 70cl) 14th: O’Connors Irish Country Cream, (£4, Tesco, 70cl)
How we marked: We awarded each liqueur up to five points in four categories – smell, taste, creaminess and the Ice Cube Test (it was really interesting how ice considerably alters the taste).
Each girlie also had an allocation of marks for their own favourites.
The small print:
A version of this cream liqueur taste test was published in regional Trinity Mirror titles in print and online on November 28, 2015
Postscript: I bought some of these liqueurs to aim for a balanced reflection across supermarket and own brands; several were sent to me by public relations teams fully in the spirit of the blind tasting.
Prices are from 2015.