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2016 Best Tasting Irish Cream Liqueurs

mollys-pour-shotWhat are the best tasting Irish Cream Liqueurs?  Before we get started lets start at the beginning.  In 1971 a group of managers at Gilbeys had an idea to create a unique Irish drink to sell to the International market.  By 1974 they had developed a process of combining fresh dairy cream with alcohol while still providing a 2 year shelf life.  This product Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur launched an entire new spirit category.  Today there are cream liqueurs made with rum, bourbon, scotch, vodka, and even tequila.  With hundreds of cream liqueurs now available Baileys still remains the best selling Irish cream liqueur and one of the worlds best selling spirits.  That said there are now over 100 Irish Cream Liqueurs produced today.  Believe it or not all of these Irish creams are produced at six or seven distillery’s in Ireland.  While I haven’t tasted every Irish cream liqueur, dozens are not offered for sale in North America, I have tried over 60, and reviewed over 50.  There may be someone who has sampled more Irish Creams, but I have seen no one review more.  I also like Irish Cream Liqueurs, to some reviewers, Irish Cream is just another spirit to review.  These fact alone make Best Tasting Spirits a leading source for Irish Cream reviews.  I feel the large sample size and the consistency of only one reviewer increases the accuracy of this list, but in the end it comes down to one mans opinion.  So what are the Best Tasting Irish Creams, and what makes them special?   

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Review: Baileys Strawberries and Cream

Baileys Strawberries and Cream is a seasonal Limited Edison liqueur that will be available February-April or until supply lasts.  I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle a little early.  This is their second seasonal flavor following Baileys Pumpkin Spice.  While no ingredients are listed on the bottle, Baileys Original Irish Cream is made with aged Irish whiskey, grain spirits, fresh dairy cream, and a unique chocolate blend.  This bottle reads Baileys Strawberries and Cream is infused with a delightful ripe strawberry flavor and the taste of delicious vanilla. Read more »


Review: Six Degree Blanco Tequila

Six Degree Blanco Tequila is named for the 6 degrees that connect all of us together.  It is crafted from 100% blue agave harvested in the Highlands surrounding the city of Tequila.  The pinas are steamed and roast in clay ovens through various times and temperatures to create the multiple tones that tantalize the taste buds.  The spirit is triple distilled through a gravity fed distillation process without the use of pumps or motors.  The tequila finishes through a custom filter, and then rests for 2 months in stainless steel before bottling in a very attractive vessel.  Read more »


Review: Doorlys 5 Year Old Rum

Doorlys 5 Year Old Rum is a blend of pot and column still rums blended before and after ageing in previously used bourbon barrels.  Doorlys is named for Martin Doorly who founded the company.  Each barrel is aged a minimum 5 years.  Doorlys is one of several rums produced at the Foursquare Distillery.  Others include Foursquare Spiced Rum, RL Seale, and the Real McCoy brands.  Doorlys has been made on the island of Barbados since 1908, and was the first rum ever to be exported from the island.    Read more »


Review: Jameson Original Irish Whiskey

Jameson Original Irish Whiskey is more commonly known as Jameson Irish Whiskey, but with 10 different varieties of Jameson currently produced, and more on the way, Jameson Original is now the official branding.  This is the first of ten Irish Whiskey reviews I have scheduled for the next 9 weeks.  With St. Patrick’s Day only 9 weeks away look for one every Monday until March 17th.  Jameson currently has about 80% of the US Irish Whiskey market, so it was easy deciding who to start with.  The 1780 on the bottle of Jameson refers to the year Bow Street Distillery in Dublin Ireland was built.  In 1786 John Jameson, married Margaret Haig a cousin of the distilleries owner and he moved from Scotland to manage the distillery.  In 1810 he took over ownership of the distillery.  To say Irish Whiskey has been on a roller coaster ride of popularity is an understatement.  At its peak near the end of the 19th century Irish Whiskey controlled 70% of the world wide whiskey market and there where 88 licensed distilleries selling 12 million cases a year.  By the 1980’s that figure had been reduced to 200,000 cases with only four distilleries remaining open.  Most of the blame for this goes to two events, The Irish War for Independence which started in 1919, and denied Irish Distillers access to export markets, and US Prohibition which ran from 1920-1933.  Today Irish Whiskey is the worlds fastest growing spirit.  There are now 18 operating distilleries with 16 more announced.  Jameson Original Irish Whiskey is made from three ingredients, barley both malted and unmalted and grown within 100 miles of the distillery, non GMO maize grown in the South of France, and water sourced from the Dungourney River.  Jameson is a blend of pot still and fine grain whiskeys.  Both are triple distilled and aged for a minimum four years in previously used bourbon barrels and Spanish Sherry casks.  Since the Midelton Distillery crafts both of these spirits, they control the production process from grain to glass.  Master Blender Billy Leighton artfully blends the whiskeys before bottling at 80 proof.               Read more »


Review: Chalfonte VSOP Grande Fine Cognac

Chalfonte VSOP Grande Fine Cognac is made from white grapes grown in the Grande Champagne cru.  The Grande Champagne terroir is characterized by a maritime climate and chalky soils over limestone and sandstone.  Chalfonte is distilled, aged and blended in limited quantity in the heart of the Cognac region.  While Chalfonte VSOP Grande Fine Cognac may not be a household name, it was the highest scoring cognac reviewed by The Beverage Testing Institute in 2017.   Read more »


Review: Hanson of Sonoma Organic Cucumber Vodka

Hanson of Sonoma Organic Cucumber Vodka is one of six vodka varieties crafted by the Hanson Family in Sonoma California.  The others include Mandarin, Ginger, Boysenberry, Espresso, and their Original unflavored.  The vodka base is made from organic Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and French Colombard grapes and pure artesian well water.  The spirit is seven times small batch distilled in a pot still and a column still with 50 distillation plates.  A proprietary seven stage filtration follows.  The vodka base is then infused with organic cucumber before hand bottling at 80 proof. Read more »


Review: Bumbu Rum

Bumbu Rum is made at the historic West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados.  The distillery was founded in 1893 by two German Brothers and was recently acquired by Maison Ferrand.  Yes this is the rum Lil Wayne shouts out in two of his newest songs featured on his Dedication 6 release.  Those tracks are Fly Away and New Freezer.  Bumbu Rum is based on the original recipe created by 16th and 17th century sailors of the West Indies.  This spice grog was called Bumbu.  They made their version by blending navy strength rum with native fruits and herbs of the Caribbean.  In making the current Bumbu Rum a little more care is given in crafting the rum base.  The Master Distillers select sugarcane from eight countries including Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guyana, and Honduras.  The terroir of each countries sugarcane contributes unique flavor characteristics.  The spirit is fermented with a yeast strain that dates back to 1840.  Bumba is distilled using two continuous stills and aged up to 15 years in Grade A once used bourbon barrels.  Spices, fruits, and herbs, all 100% natural ingredients are added to the rum after aging and prior to bottling at 70 proof.  Read more »


Review: Courvoisier VSOP Cognac

Courvoisier VSOP Cognac is crafted from white grapes grown in the Grande and Petite Champagne, and Fins Bois crus.  Courvoisier nurtures a close relationship with over 800 vine growers to ensure the grapes used are the finest in the Cognac region.  The grapes are harvested at their peak, at the end of summer.  Once pressed the juices ferment over seven days.  The wine is double distilled only from November to March using traditional and unusually small 25 hectoliter alembic pot stills.  The eaux-de-vies are aged in barrels handcrafted from the finest French oak.  Master Blender Patrice Pinet then fuses these fine spirits into a consistent and harmonious blend.  Read more »


Review: Blue Iguana Silver Tequila

Blue Iguana Silver Tequila is produced at Distilarora del Valle de Tequila with 100% blue agave grown in both the Highland and Lowland Regions.  The agave is hand selected when the brix sugar content is between 23-28.  The agave hearts are steam roasted in century old traditional brick ovens for 36-54 hours.  Next one half of the roasted agave hearts are pressure cooked in a 20 ton autoclave for 15 hours.  After cooling for 9 hours they are shredded in a mill.  The agave juice is fermented for 36 hours in a stainless steel tank, and double distilled in pot stills. Read more »


Review: Beluga Noble Russian Vodka

Beluga Noble Russian Vodka was first produced in 2002 at the Mariinsk Distillery.  The Mariinsk Distillery was established in 1900 in the heart of Siberia.  Noble is one of five varieties of Beluga Russian Vodka.  The others include Transatlantic, Allure, Gold Line, and Celebration.  Beluga Noble is made from barley malt and pure water from 300 meter deep artesian wells in the bedrock of Siberia.  The water is double filtered through quartz sand and special silver.  Once distilled the spirit is filtered through a 10.5 meter coal column filter composed of birch charcoal.  The vodka is flavored with fractional amounts of honey, oat, and milk thistle, and then left to rest for 30 days prior to bottling. Read more »