Product Type: Halewood International Beverages Liqueur
Newest Review: ... about the same as Baileys. The smell when you open the bottle is actually very nice and you don't get the overpowering whiff of alcohol t... more
Halewood Irish Meadow
Member Name: Mephit
Halewood Irish Meadow
Advantages: Cheap tasty Baileys substitute
Disadvantages: Slightly thinner, only readily available in 70cl bottles
If you're a fan of Baileys, you probably have looked for cheaper alternatives, as have I. There are quite a few on the market and I've tried quite a few. Ahem. Cough. Yes indeed. Well, carrying on and making no judgements (about me! Haha). Some are better than others. A few are so sweet you feel your teeth melt, but Irish Meadow is not one of these.
Irish Meadow is a "smooth blend of fresh cream with white wine and Irish whiskey". You don't taste the white wine at all (or at least I can't detect it), but the whisky and cream, (which after all are what you are looking for with a Baileys-type liqueur), are definitely there. It's noticeably a thinner liquid than Baileys, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is still rich and luxurious in feel, with a lovely creaminess that remains on the palate.
Its colour and appearance in the glass is pretty much identical to that of Baileys - you wouldn't know by looking at it that it wasn't the famous brand.
The bottle on the shelf is not as well packaged as the Baileys, not as attractive & classy perhaps, but it is in a shapely brown bottle with a picture postcard Irish meadow scene on the label. You can expect to pay under a fiver for a 70cl bottle of it as opposed to at least twice as much for the "real thing". I usually buy from Spar, although I believe other supermarkets stock it.
It is less alcoholic by a couple of percent alcohol by volume (abv) - Irish Meadow is 14.5% abv, while Baileys is 17%. I wouldn't say that's necessarily a bad thing either! If you're drinking for pleasure rather than to get sozzled (not that the two are always mutually exclusive!), the difference in abv isn't going to make any difference.
Irish Meadow is very easy to drink - not cloying or too sweet. It manages what many cheap substitutes fail to do and gives Baileys a very good run for its money. I think I'd possibly even choose this over Baileys even if both were at the same price, because I do like the thinner consistency - it doesn't seem quite as heavy. The only thing that really makes it seem cheap is the packaging.
Summary: Very good replacement for Baileys at half the price
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