Irish Cream liqueurs are a blend of Irish Whiskey, fresh cream, infusions of coffee, and/or chocolate and as some producers claim; several other secret ingredients!
Well those secret additions may be the point of difference with many brands but I thought I would offer a few observations on a small selection of what’s available.
After several tasting sessions with a group of serious Irish cream drinkers this is what they thought about the quality of taste and the price of the various products tasted.
The brands tasted were:
Tescos own brand – £7.00 per 70cl bottle
Lidls Dundalgan – £ 3.99 per 70cl bottle
Aldis Ballycastle – £ 4.29 per 70cl bottle
Baileys, Queen Margot, Carolans, Saint Brendans.
Whilst the strengths varied from 15%- 17% abv we concentrated on the quality of the taste and its relation to the price , and as far as we could determine how the strength affected the balance and composition of the drink.
The price range varied greatly, from £3.99 to over £15.00 So the challenge to find what we thought was the best value for money was quite a big ask and it took some time. However we found that the following brands were liked the most based on their freshness, balance, richness, colour, on ice and with no ice !
In top place came Lidl brand Dundalgan and Aldi brand Ballycastle however we also found that both outlets provided a higher strength “Premium” 17% abv, with Queen Margot and Premium Ballycastle Irish cream (Aldi) and although they were higher in alcohol we found that the taste and balance were in harmony and the strength of the alcohol did not impair the taste.
Next came Carolans and Saint Brendans which along with the Baileys were pleasant, but when it came to price could not compete with the brands that came out on top.