Like many people I am fond of a glass or two of Bailey's Irish Cream at Christmas and most other times of the year too. Bailey's is expensive, up to £15 for a bottle so I have experimented with various cheaper Irish Creams over the years which has led to finding some really bad copies. One Irish cream I do really like and have bought a few times is Carolan's which is available for roughly half the price of Bailey's.
Carolan's is made of a mixture of mead and cream. Scottish mead is a honey based liqueur but it seems like Irish mead is made of whiskey and other Irish spirits. It has an alcohol content of 14.5% which is roughly the same as other Irish creams.
When you pour the Carolan's into a glass it is a light brown colour, much paler than Bailey's which surprised me. It has the lovely sweet smell of a mixture of honey and whiskey which whets your appetite for some of the drink.
My favourite way to drink Carolan's is over ice and it has a slight kick from the alcohol and leaves a lovely creamy aftertaste in the mouth. I find it much smoother than Bailey's to drink and less sweet so it does not become sickly as quickly. The taste is a lovely blend of Whiskey, sweetness and cream which is silky soft and very luxurious.
My second favourite way to drink Carolan's is by making an Irish coffee. You simply place a couple of measures on top of black coffee and let it float on top without stirring. Adding cream and sugar is optional, I find that the liqueur is creamy and sweet enough that adding extra just ruins the taste for me. Alternatively you can stir a good slug of the booze into black coffee for a luxurious lattee.
The shelf life of Carolan's is good, despite the added cream it keeps for 6 months in a cool cupboard, not that it lasts as long as that in my house.
Carolan's is a lovely treat and is affordable enough to buy at any time of the year and not just save it for Christmas.
When my father came to stay last year, we had Baileys in the house and he enjoyed a glass or two. Have you ever tried Carolans? he asked. I had never heard of it. This year when he came to stay he brought us a bottle and we opened it and had a tipple or two. That was in October and we forgot we had it until my wife found it amongst the wine earlier today. It needs finishing up now.
Carolans is an Irish Cream liqueur, second only to you know who in terms of international sales. Although it is an established brand, it only came to market in 1979 and is now part of the William Grant stable of brands, In the UK, Carolans is a blend of fresh Irish Cream, made-wine and honey and is 14.5% Alcohol by volume.
I think it is the honey that is the key differentiator between this and Baileys.
I hadn't heard of made-wine so I looked it up. According to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, the term made-wine describes a wide variety of drinks that do not fall under the heading of spirits, wine, beer or cider but are made from the alcoholic fermentation of any substance or the mixing of wine with another substance. Are we any wiser? Possibly not!
To the discerning Irish Cream Liqueur fanatic, Carolans is a very different drink to Baileys; however, the oiks amongst us will automatically put it in the same bracket as Baileys in all but price. Asda are currently selling a 1 litre bottle for £8.67, making it appreciably cheaper than the market leading Baileys. I suspect this might have something to do with its rise to prominence.
It isn't as thick in terms of consistency and the taste is different, although to all intents and purposes, the drinks do look similar and tend to be enjoyed by the same people. It is best drunk cold and once opened it should be drunk within 6 months - not much chance of it lasting that long in our house as my wife likes this too.
My preference is to drink Carolans with coffee, whereas to drink straight, I would opt for Baileys which is a smoother and creamier taste. I couldn't drink a lot of either and it is a drink to be sipped rather than slurped in quantity.
If you haven't tried it, look out for it and give it a try.
I was recently at my best friend's house pouring out my troubles, when she offered me an alcoholic beverage along with her shoulder to cry on.
Never one to decline a drink I accepted thinking it would be wine, as we had shared many a bottle (each!) in our time.
Instead she produced a bottle of 'Carolans' and said it was "gorgeous and tasted like Baileys but nicer".
I was intrigued as I quite like the odd glass of Baileys, but find it can be a little too rich and sickly after a few sips.
Also, having worked in a pub for 12 years I can honestly say I'd never heard of this so was tempted to try it out of curiosity..
On opening the bottle the aroma that greets you is very reminiscent to that of Baileys as it is a blend of "Fresh Irish cream, made wine and honey."
I'm not entirely sure what Made Wine consists of but it sounded tempting..
The drink itself, on pouring resembles Baileys as far as the colour goes; which is creamy pale beige.
The consistency is decidedly thinner and more 'watery' compared to it's counterpart.
What does it taste like then?
This is a rich, opulent drink that is both enjoyable and comforting. It leaves a warm feeling in the pit of your stomach and is ideal for cold winter evenings. To describe it as an everyday drink would be wrong as it is more of a liqueur and not the sort of beverage you would expect to be refreshing.
The first noticeable thing that stands out is indeed the Irish cream. This is what makes it comparable to Baileys, but what makes it stand out and dare I say taste better is the hint of honey.
As for the made wine I'm sure it's in there but I can't tell you exactly what it tastes like as all I'm aware of when tasting this fine drink is the Irish cream and the honey. Carolans is smooth and not remotely 'claggy' like other Irish cream based drinks can be and is very easy going on the palette - too much in fact!
A quick run down of the price and packaging~
As mentioned I'd never heard of this until recently but my friend said Netto was selling a 1 litre bottle for a mere £7 at the moment which apparently is really cheap.
The bottle itself has a stubby body and short, thin neck with a screw cap. The bottle is a dark brown/black glass and has a thin paper label around the centre with the logo of 'Carolans' in a celtic style writing.
*Once opened use within 6 months
*Do not mix with anything citrus based
*A 1 litre bottle contains contains 14.5 units
*Made by T.J Carolan & Son ltd, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, Ireland.
Would I recommend this?
This is not my sort of drink at all but I have to confess to being won over totally by Carolans. It's deliciously smooth and tastes like heaven.
The taste is sublime with the honey being really noticeable but in a subtle way, and though it is compared to Baileys I think it definitely stands its grounds as being equal or in my opinion far superior. This is worth a try but even more so at the current cheap price of £7.
Now the festive season is in deep swing I have been indulging in Creamy liqueurs; in particular Irish Cream liqueurs.
There are many brands of Irish creams the most popular and well known is Baileys. Now I will agree Baileys is lovely and one of he best but if you are on a budget and would like to indulge in an Irish cream liqueur then Carolans is a good substitute for Baileys. However it is a brand you will enjoy or hate. You will hate it because it isn't as good as baileys or you will enjoy it as a good alternative.
Carolans comes in a 1 Litre uniquely shaped glass bottle with a cream label across the front detailing the name of the brand. Carolans is available to purchase from Asda for £6.00. That is a great price for such a large bottle of a cream liqueur. The bottle is the same size as a standard bottle of baileys but is half the price. As I was new to testing the carolans brand I decided to have a look on the carolans website. www.carolans.ie. It confirms that it is a genuine Irish cream liqueur - made in Ireland, with an alcohol content of 17% or 14.5 % alcohol by volume.
~~Taste and Texture~~
When you pour out Carolans it appears to have same visual colour of other popular brands, it also has that lovely creamy smell, be it different then the others but none the less tempting to the lips. Now hear comes the taste test, we usually enjoy Carolans one of two ones, the traditional carolans over ice, and Carolans in my coffee, as an evening drink to finish my meal, or warm us up in the evening. Carolans has its own unique taste, it is a lovely cream liqueur that you can enjoy on its own, it has a strong taste but is still pleasant to enjoy.
It appears to be less creamy and more watery than other brands. But at half the price you can't expect it to be the same. If you look on the website it gives you some cocktail recipes that you can try out, I have not tried these as I prefer to drink it with ice as a nice little drink of in my coffee.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Carolans brand of creamy liqueur however; it is not as good as Baileys. If you are on a budget, or want to try a different brand, try Carolans, you will either love it or hate it. I enjoy the drink but appreciate that it is not as good as others but I still enjoy it and will continue to buy it. As the brand and the creamy liqueur are good in the own right, and it is reasonably priced.
It is not as thick as Baileys but it is a cheap alternative that tastes nice. I would not choose Carolans over Baileys as Baileys has a lovely texture and taste. However I can't afford to buy Baileys on a regular basis over the Christmas period. So I choose to buy Baileys as a special treat. In the meantime I will enjoy this lovely alternative which has a lovely smooth texture and at £6.00 a Litre is a bargain not to enjoy.
I bet you knew I couldn’t stay off the sauce for long. I’m always willing to try out new creamy drinks and I’d heard of this one through DooYoo before, so I thought I would give it a go. Better than Baileys? We’ll see!! Carolans (Finest) comes in a familiar looking brown glass bottle with a creamy coloured label. It sports the phrase “product of Ireland” and describes itself as “a blend of fresh Irish Cream, made-wine and honey”. What ‘made-wine’ is I am not sure, perhaps I will do a bit of investigating later [the most I found out was that made-wine seems to contain ‘coolers’, or at least this was what was suggested in passing by one web page I looked at!]. “Carolans comes from the Golden vale, the heart of Ireland’s dairy land”, very interesting. Apparently “the smoothness of Carolans comes from the subtle blending of fresh cream, made-wine and honey”, who would have guessed! So the packaging is not spectacular, although the label on the back offers a free recipe leaflet if you write to; T.J. Carolan and Son ltd, Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland I will be doing this shortly! The only size bottle I have seen is 1L and this was priced at £7.98. Did you hear that? £7.98!!! If my memory serves me correctly you pay MORE than that for a 750ml bottle of Baileys, and it’s only about £2 more expensive than the 500ml bottle! It’s almost HALF the price of the same amount of Baileys!!! But perhaps cheap equates to BAD; Wee, I can tell you that in this case it doesn’t! On opening the bottle, you are greeted with a smell of wine (to be quite honest, I can’t smell a thing now because I have been tucking into a glass whilst writing the introduction, but when I first opened the bottle, it did smell of wine!). Pouring it into the glass, it looks the same sort of creamy colour that you would
expect from the likes of Baileys et al but it seems to be ‘thinner’ in that the light shines through the liquid more, although not to the point you could describe it as opaque! Watery is probably a better description. Now for the taste *looking at the glass* ah, I seem to have finished it! I’ll just have a little more, just so I can describe it accurately you understand! It’s very pleasant. The reaction of my neighbour last night was “fwooooooargh”, which I think loosely interpreted means “gosh, the taste of alcohol is very strong isn’t it?!”. And it is a little strong to taste, despite it containing a mere 14.5% alcohol by volume. Aside from the taste of alcohol, there is also a smooth creaminess but it reflects its look in not tasting THAT creamy, there is more of a hint than anything, without it being overpowering. It’s sweet, it’s possible to taste the honey slightly, but only in the first few tastes! The alcohol leaves a warm feeling in your mouth, and if you take a small gulp, this sensation can also be felt as it passes down your throat. As I only bought this from Tesco yesterday (as an aside, it is now available from Asda too - what's it like?! At first I don't see it anywhere and now it is everywhere!), I haven’t tried it as a replacement for the Baileys in my Potent Milkshake, or in Hot Chocolate. I get the feeling that the less creamy texture will change the luxurious feel of both these drinks, and there will probably be a difference in taste too. It may well be just as nice, but in a different way. As soon as I begin to play around and mix this drink I will update this opinion. Overall, I would recommend this drink if you like creamy liqueurs but can’t afford to splash out on Baileys (or any of my other favourite tipples for that matter!).
I have to disagree with the first review writer in the fact that Carolans is 'sickening'. I have always found Carolans to be a perfectly good substitute for Baileys. For those of us who are on a budget and who like a cream liquer occasionally, I would say go for Carolans every time. My only, very minor, gripe is that Carolans is less thick than Bailies. A little runnier. However the taste is perfectly acceptable. I find Baileys a little overpriced, although I usually succumb and purchase a bottle around Christmas time. However, throughout the year when I fancy a treat, it is Carolans I chose. Creamy, good alcohol taste and great value for money. Thumbs up.
Ahhh yes, the cheap version of the exquisite Baileys. Carolans has often found its way into my household when I have had but little cash to spend on Baileys. It's cost is less than half of that of Baileys and you think to yourself "mmmm think I'll check that out then". Of course when you drink some you immediately realise that it's a lot cheaper because it's very sweet and not even a mere shadow of Baileys. After the first 1 litre bottle you decide the next Saturday to buy another bottle. So you start drinking you're second 1 litre bottle and you realise that you are really sick of this sweet cream. So yes this is good for a change as it is a lot cheaper than Baileys. Still I wouldn't drink it too much because it becomes sickening and you realise that saving money to buy Baileys is far more worth it. One other thing might I add, is not to drink any straight after making yourself an Irish Coffee with it. If you make yourself an Irish Coffee with this stuff, it's so sweet that you'll be sick of it for the rest of the night.
A delicate blend of rich double cream, natural honey, Irish whiskey and neutral spirit. Straight as a classic liqueur, poured over ice, or as the foundation for a mouth-watering variety of skilfully created cocktails, Carolans Finest Irish Cream is the perfect companion on any occasion.