A creamy classic that combines milk and whiskey, Baileys Irish Cream is a guilty pleasure for many. In this review, you will discover Baileys Irish Cream as I explore the following:
- Review Formula
- Spirit Overview
- Robe & Appearance
- Nose & Aromas
- Palate & Mouthfeel
- How To Drink Baileys
- Cocktail Suggestions
- Recommended Pairings
- Overall Experience & Value For Money
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- Distillery: Baileys
- Expression: Original
- Variety: Irish Cream
- Region: Dublin, Ireland & Mallusk, Northern Ireland
- Age: NAS
- Casking: N/A
- Cask Strength: 17% ABV
- Parent: Diageo
Created in 1971 by the legendary Tom Jago with David Gluckman and Hugh Seymour-Davies, it was released in 1974 by Gilbeys of Ireland. Today, it is owned by Diageo, and is produced in either Dublin, Ireland, or Mallusk in Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. It is produced from a blend of Irish whiskeys that are homogenised and emulsified with cream and cocoa using vegetable oil.
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Baileys Irish Cream’s Robe
- Hue: Caffè Latte
- Clarity: Clean
- Viscosity: Syrupy
It’s luscious and creamy. The hue’s reminiscent of latte coffee or even just a café au lait. However, its thickness is much more syrupy than milk and coffee. The liquid is completely opaque and leaves a sticky residue just about everywhere.
Slosh the liquid in the glass and you’ll see that it flows like a thick milkshake, leaving a light scallop around the edges of the glass.
Baileys Irish Cream’s Nose
- Notes: Cocoa, Hazelnut, Condensed Milk
- Nosefeel: Unctuous
Its nose is deeply unctuous and delivers rich notes of cocoa, condensed milk, and hazelnut. Its aromas are gourmand and strongly reminiscent of a banoffee pie’s base. The bouquet is not overly rich. On the nose, it does admittedly feel a little bit synthetic. Furthermore, it’s not particularly intense.
Baileys Irish Cream’s Palate & Mouthfeel
- Primary Taste: Sweet
- Mouthfeel: Creamy
- Opening: Chocolate, Hazelnut, Milk
- Heart: Almond, Cereal, Milk Chocolate
- Finish: Short [Vanilla, Whiskey, Coffee]
A gulp of Baileys is like a boozy chocolate milkshake. The primary flavour is sweet and the mouthfeel is exceedingly creamy.
In the opening, it’s going to deliver chocolate, hazelnut, and milk. It’s a lot less synthetic on the palate compared to the nose. In the heart, expect hints of almond, cereal, a precursor to the booziness, and milk chocolate.
Once you experience the finish, you’ll taste a dash of vanilla and a whiff of coffee. However, its dominated by the boozy alcohol that reveals itself at the end. However, the whiskey is still very subtle. Indeed, Tom Jago’s entire idea behind Baileys was a much more palatable and less punishing Irish cream.
As it’s made for easy drinking, don’t expect much complexity. However, there is some nuance in the different notes. You may detect the odd spice and herb as well as some nuts as well.
The texture is very smooth: It just gloops its way down the throat and warms you up. It’s an ideal beverage to enjoy next to a roaring fire with a good book.
Furthermore, while lacking complexity, it’s a harmonious experience with a nice balance across the palate. Of course, it leans forward at the front of the palate in terms of the sweetness, but the different flavours that are there knit together very nicely to produce very pleasant accords.
It does linger for a little bit on the palate, but you’re always reaching for more. Therefore, the finish isn’t quite as long as you may think.
How To Drink Baileys Irish Cream
As usual, there is no right or wrong way to drink Baileys. Everyone has their own personal preference but if you’re not familiar with the drink, we can offer a few suggestions.
Firstly, Baileys is often served chilled in a tumbler glass. Typically, most people with have it with ice. Personally, however, I quite enjoy it neat without. Even at room temperature, it’s quite pleasant and you’ll get a greater amount of heat from the alcohol.
Otherwise, it can be enjoyed in coffee or even as part of a cocktail. However, we’ll cover that in the section below.
Baileys Irish Cream Cocktail Suggestions
As mentioned above, Baileys is typically either neat or on ice in a tumbler glass. Nevertheless, you can experiment with it by trying the following cocktails.
- Baileys & Coffee: Simply top up espresso with a dash of baileys and enjoy
- Tiramisu: Add mascarpone to Baileys and coffee for a truly gourmand experience.
- Milkshake: Blend vanilla ice cream with Baileys for a boozy drink.
- Grappa Cocktail: Add a dash of grappa to a Bailey & coffee for extra punch.
- Mudslide: Combine Baileys with coffee liqueur, vodka, and heavy cream.
You may notice that Baileys cocktails typically capitalise on its successful accord with coffee. Indeed, most Baileys cocktails are rich, heavy, and gourmand experience. Therefore, it’s not the ingredient that you’d use to make something light and refreshing! Instead, it’s a great dessert alternative.
Best Pairings With Baileys Irish Cream
In fact, Baileys is a great ingredient to use for when making desserts. Either consider it as an accompaniment or include it into the recipe itself. For instance, it can add depth to cheesecake when you add it to the topping. Alternatively, it can accompany a cheesecake instead.
Similarly, I mentioned its similarity to banoffee pie earlier. Indeed, you could add it to the condensed milk incorporate it into the base. Alternatively, add it to syrup for a chocolate fondant for a truly rich experience!
At Bespoke Unit, we love cigars. Therefore, it’s no surprise that we’ve considered a couple of different cigar pairings. A relatively mild maduro cigar would be a great choice. For instance, the Oliva Serie V Melanio Maduro is a balanced and well-constructed maduro cigar that won’t overpower the Irish cream’s flavour.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
The bottle’s logo depicts a pleasant springtime pasture that’s presumably a representation of the Irish countryside. Meanwhile, the name “Baileys” was actually inspired by a restaurant. However, the signature used underneath the text was borrowed from the Baileys Hotel in London. Interestingly, the signature’s apostrophe was removed for the bottle.
When it comes to the occasion, Baileys is a surprisingly versatile drink that can be enjoyed casually and for easy drinking at home. That said, don’t be surprised to see it at more formal events as well. Yet, there are Irish creams that are perhaps more premium Baileys even if it is the most famous,
In the USA, Baileys costs around $30 whereas it’s significantly less in Europe at around $15.
Perfect for a quiet winter evening with a good book by the fire, Baileys is a luscious treat that soothes even the sweetest tooth. Affordable and pleasant, it’s great neat but offers lots of cocktail possibilities, too.
"A guilty pleasure for even the most sophisticated palates."
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