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
Get some down your neck!
Halewood Irish Meadow
Member Name: Bellroyd
Halewood Irish Meadow
Advantages: Quite an authentic taste
Disadvantages: Not as thick and creamy as Baileys
To me, it seemed entirely logical at Christmas time to re-stock with one bottle of the expensive Baileys and one bottle of the cheaper stuff, which could have been any one of a number of cheaper brands but which ended up being this one.
My logic was clear. If you enjoy Baileys straight - have a Baileys. If you like a dash of something in your coffee, have an Irish Meadow which retails at around half the price. Simples!
My wife has a rather different stance on this and usually falls for most marketing ploys. I remember her seeing a massive display of Baileys in all its variants pre-Christmas and wanting to buy them all. Of course, Baileys doesn't last forever once it has been opened and I am sure that they love making money by people letting product go off and then re-stocking. Well, being a mean son of a bitch, that wasn't going to happen in our house!
So, the Irish Meadow was bought and tucked away at the back of the cupboard. We keep some spirits on display on the dresser but this wasn't allowed space as it was considered by my wife to be a down-market brand. Sigh!
Well, it was only at the weekend when I was looking for some cheap whisky to swill around my mouth to combat my toothache that I found this Irish Meadow that hadn't seen the light of day since being opened at Easter. There was half a bottle left but there was an unwelcoming crust which had formed around the neck of the screw top bottle. Opened it, smelled it, seemed OK and I decided in my own mind that it would be fine to go into my evening coffee. However on the evening in question it was rejected in favour of some Bells - much better for toothache than the sweeter Irish Meadow.
With toothache now gone, I set about polishing off this Irish Meadow over the last two nights and although it tasted fine in the coffee, I thought, for the purposes of this review that I should try some neat as I would drink Baileys. So I had two small nips last night - just by itself - at room temperature - and it tasted pleasantly sweet and was nice to sip at in that final hour before bed.
This morning I was half an hour later getting up and I slept very well, so it was an effective nightcap certainly.
We don't have any Baileys at present so I wasn't able to make an immediate comparison. Maybe my taste buds aren't that well developed or have been dulled through the passage of time, but if someone had given me this and told me it was Baileys, I don't believe I would know the difference. Maybe it wasn't quite as thick in terms of consistency and maybe it was slightly less creamy, but taste wise it was good. It might even have been better still because it really shouldn't be left opened and unquaffed for too long. The drinks cupboard is nice and cool but far better to keep it in the fridge and drink it within a couple of months of opening, I would say.
It is described on the bottle as being a smooth blend of fresh cream with white wine and Irish whiskey and is 14.5% alcohol by volume - not quite as strong as Baileys. However, this type of drink is never going to get me too tipsy as to have too much of the stuff would result in your feeling sick rather than drunk. Like Baileys, it is quite sweet.
Irish Meadow is a Halewood International brand. It isn't always stocked by the major supermarkets as it is considered by many to be a seasonal purchase and to be fair once this bottle is finished, we probably won't buy it again until Christmas. I think it was around a fiver when we bought it - around half the price of Baileys and offering very good value as far as I am concerned.
However, I think next year we'll buy a couple of bottles of this and decant it into a sterilised Bailey's bottle. No, maybe that is a bit mean - but it would save me from scrabbling about at the back of the cupboard because my wife would have it on display!
Summary: A worthy and cheaper substitute for the brand leader, especially when drunk in coffee
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