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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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20
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Review: Cenote Blanco Tequila

Cenote Blanco Tequila is an ultra premium 100% Weber blue agave recently launched by SPI Group, the parent company of Stoli Vodka, Bayou Rum, Kah Tequila, and Kentucky Owl Bourbon.  Cenote is named for the natural swimming holes formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock which revealed a secret subterranean world of crystal clear fresh water.  The Mayans revered and named cenotes, meaning sacred well.  Master Distiller Arturo Fuentes and Master Blender Alejandro Garcia Perez manage the entire process at Fabrica de Tequilos Finos.  This is the distillery that also produces Dos Manos, El Diamante Del Cielo, Kirkland Signature, and Kah tequila.  Cenote is made from 100% blue agave grown for a minimum 6-7 years before harvesting from the Lowland Region.  The water used to craft Cenote is sourced from an artesian well located at the distillery.  The water is further filtered through reverse osmosis and carbon filters with silver ions.  Cenote is double distilled using a combination of copper and stainless steel pot stills.  After distillation the tequila is mellowed in American oak barrels for 3 weeks before bottling. Read more »

11
Apr

Review: Mezan XO Jamaican Rum

Mezan XO Jamaican Rum is made in small batches of 5000 bottles from rums produced by several different Jamaican distilleries.  While no age statement is published on the bottles label or the companies website, several reliable sources claim these rums are aged from 4-23 years.  Three of the distilleries said to produce rum for this blend include Monymusk, Worthy Park, and Hampden.  These casks are shipped to England where the Master Blender carefully selects and blends these rums and then re-casks the rum in bourbon barrels to encourage the marriage of flavors. The rum is unsweetened, uncolored, and only lightly filtered before bottling at 80 proof. Read more »

9
Apr

Review: Bushmills Red Bush Irish Whiskey

Bushmills Red Bush Irish Whiskey was released in the US March 2017, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  It is a blend of triple distilled Irish single malt whiskey made from 100% malted barley and water drawn from Saint Columbs Rill, a tributary of the River Bush, and Irish grain whiskey.  Bushmills Red Bush is matured exclusively in first fill bourbon casks for a minimum of four years.  This contrasts to Bushmills Black Bush which is matured in Oloroso sherry casks.  Read more »

6
Apr

Review: Powers Signature Release

Powers Signature Release is a single pot still Irish whiskey matured mainly in American oak barrels with a subtle inclusion of first fill Oloroso sherry casks.  Powers Signature was introduced in the US September 2013.  It followed the launch of John’s Lane Release a single pot still whiskey matured for no less than 12 years.  No age statement is provided for Powers Signature Release.  The whiskey is non chill filtered before bottling at 92 proof.  While no other distillery currently sells a single pot still Irish whiskey, Irish Distillers produces several including the previously reviewed Red Breast, and Green Spot.  They will not be alone for long as several new distilleries are producing single pot still Irish whiskey that is maturing in casks at this moment.  Single pot still Irish whiskey was once the worlds best selling whiskey. Read more »

4
Apr

Review: 896 5 Year Old Rum

896 5 Year Old Rum is made from a blend of rums distilled and aged for a minimum 5 years in Barbados.  Sitting next to 896 5 Year Old Rum on the shelf at Total Wine and More is 896 8 Year Old Rum.  Both are imported and bottled by Universal Brands in Princeton Minnesota.  If you have ever visited a Total Wine and More, I have no doubt you are amazed at the selection of beer, wine, and spirits they carry.  While they sell most of the top name brand spirits you would expect, they specialize in selling local craft spirits, along with spirits you just can’t find at any of your local liquor stores.  Some of these spirits are hidden gems from craft distillers that would never make there way to your state if not for Total Wine and More.  Others are produced or bottled by some of the nations biggest private label distilleries including the one in Princeton Minnesota that produces 896 Rum.  Unfortunately little or no information is available about these products.  I often stay away from these products because as a reviewer there is very little to write about other than the actual product review.  I purchased this bottle because I am a big fan of rum produced in Barbados and since it was on sale for $13.99 I thought I would give it a shot.  Read more »

1
Apr

Review: Bacardi Anejo Cuatro Rum

Bacardi Anejo Cuatro Rum was just released.  If Bacardi Anejo sounds familiar it is.  Bacardi Anejo was produced from a recipe dating back to 1862 and aged up to three years before bottling.  As the name would imply Bacardi Anejo Cuatro is a rum that has been aged a minimum four years in oak barrels.  Bacardi includes some 5 and 6 year old rum in this blend.  As a comparison Bacardi Superior is aged for a minimum one year with some of the rum aged up to three years before blending.  Bacardi Cuatro is part of a lineup that includes Ocho 8 year old, and Limitada, a rum aged up to 16 years.  Gran Reserva Diez, a 10 year old rum will soon join this lineup. Read more »

30
Mar

Review: Belvedere Ginger Zest Vodka

Belvedere Ginger Zest Vodka is set for release in April.  I was luck enough to pick up a bottle a little early.  Belvedere Ginger Zest starts with a vodka base made from Dankowski rye and pure water.  The water is sourced from their own wells and undergoes an 11 step purification process that includes reverse osmosis.  The spirit is distilled four times and is filtered twice.  Once through carbon followed by a finer mechanical filtration process.  The flavors and aromas of fresh ginger, lemon, and grapefruit are extracted in a proprietary maceration process.  These extracted oils are blended with the vodka.  No sugar is added before bottling at 80 proof. Read more »

28
Mar

Review: Stoli Cucumber Vodka

Stoli Cucumber Vodka will soon be arriving at local liquor stores nationwide.  This is the first new flavored vodka Stoli has produced using their signature Stolichnaya vodka base since 2012.  They did launch Stoli Crushed Pineapple and Stoli Crushed Ruby Red Grapefruit, two gluten free vodka’s made from corn and buckwheat that are flavored with natural fruit juice and bottled at 60 proof last year.  Stoli Crushed Mango is coming soon.  Stoli Cucumber is made from estate grown winter wheat, from fields in the Tambov region surrounding their distillery.  The spirit is triple distilled.  Pure artesian well water is blended to reduce to proof and the vodka is quadruple filtered through  a series that includes quartz, Siberian Birch, and tightly woven cloth.  While most flavored vodka’s are bottled at 70 proof, and some as low as 60 proof, Stoli Cucumber Vodka weighs in at 75 proof.    Read more »

26
Mar

Review: Skyy Infusions Sun Ripened Watermelon Vodka

Skyy Infusions Sun Ripened Watermelon Vodka will soon be released.  I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle a little early.  This is not the first watermelon flavored vodka Skyy has produced.  Three years ago Skyy Vodka released a 60 proof line of flavored vodka under the Skyy Barcraft product line.  One of those three flavors was Watermelon Fresca.  The Barcraft line is no longer produced.  Sun Ripened Watermelon is the one of 15 flavors in the current Skyy Infusions line up.  Watermelon continues to be a popular flavor ingredient for both beer and spirits.  This will be my 13th Watermelon flavored vodka review.  The vodka base is made from Midwestern grown wheat quadruple distilled in Pekin Illinois.  Once in San Jose the spirit is triple filtered through California limestone and blended with water filtered through reverse osmosis.  Natural watermelon flavors are infused before bottling at 70 proof. Read more »

25
Mar

Review: The Real McCoy 5 Year Old Rum

The Real McCoy 5 Year Old Rum is produced at the Four Square Distillery in Barbados.  The Real McCoy brand of rum is named for Bill McCoy the pioneer rum runner of the Prohibition era.  He was the first person to load his boat with rum and sail up to New York in January of 1920.  He parked his boat 3 miles of the coast in international waters so as to obey the law.  His rum was never cut with turpentine, wood alcohol, prune juice or water as many others did.  His rum soon became know as the Real McCoy because it was unadulterated.  Bailey Pryor while producing a documentary of the life of Bill McCoy found the distillery that supplied Bill McCoy his rum.  After speaking with forth generation master distiller Richard Seale he launched the Real McCoy brand.  The rum is created in a classic dry rum style which was the style Bill McCoy sold from his ocean parked boat.  The rum is made from black strap molasses, yeast, and pure spring water.  After a 44 hour fermentation in a closed top tank, the molasses wine is split in half.  Half is distilled in a 2 column Coffey still and the other half is distilled in a 1500 liter copper pot still.  The rums are aged separately for 5 years in heavy char American oak bourbon barrels.  Once mature these rums are blended.  Barbados spring water is then mixed to reduce to 80 proof.  No sugars, perfumes, or coloring are added before bottling. Read more »