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
Not a bad Irish Cream!
Halewood Irish Meadow
Member Name: MelissaRuth
Halewood Irish Meadow
Advantages: A cheap and good tasting Irish cream.
Disadvantages: Not the real thing i.e. Baileys, but a good substitute
One of the things that I really enjoy as an occasional evening treat, especially on a chilly dark night, is a glass of 'Baileys' and even better with a packet of ready salted crisps. As it is quite pricey it is not something that often finds its way into my shopping trolley, but my husband usually indulges me with a bottle for Christmas and birthdays. On holiday this year on a soggy and chilly day in wet Wales, I really fancied cosying down in our caravan with the heater on and a warming Irish cream, so on our trip to Tesco for our food shop I lingered at the alcohol aisle. The litre bottle of Baileys that was available was going to set me back £17 and I was dithering as to whether I could really justify buying it, especially as I had a bottle back at home already. That was when I spotted the bottle of Irish Meadow on the same shelf, priced at a mere £3.97 for 70cl. For that price I thought that it would probably taste disgusting, but also for that price I couldn't see that I had much to lose, so the bottle was duly placed safely into my trolley ready for an evening tasting session.
That night the seal on the bottle was broken and my husband and I sat down to place our verdict on this imposter, fully prepared to be berating it and wishing we'd not been so frugal. But no, we were so pleasantly surprised. It tasted really good and not a whole lot different to Baileys.
Back home I decided that I would make a proper comparison of the two versions of Irish cream. Firstly to looks. Irish Meadow is a pale caramel colour and looks a lot like the colour of a weak cup of tea. It is a fractionally lighter colour than Baileys and is also a slightly thinner consistency. The smell is slightly milkier and less intense but still really appealing. And all importantly the taste; it tastes just like Irish cream should, although I'm not really sure quite how you'd describe that. It is nice and creamy and tastes just like Baileys does when ice has been added, so I guess it's a more watered down and weaker consistency. It does leave a long lasting taste in the mouth which is quite rich and creamy.
The ultimate test came when I gave my husband a glass of each and asked him to identify them. On this blind test he got it wrong - fairly robust evidence I think that there really is not much in it and that given the significant price difference, Irish Meadow is a great buy.
It comes in a brown glass bottle with an attractive embossed clover leaf on the front. The screw top lid is cream with an olive green clover leaf on the top as well as the information that it is a product of the Republic of Ireland. The front label is rich and classy featuring a countryside photograph surrounded by gold, cream and green oval bands. It is stated as being an original Irish blend made from fresh cream, white wine and Irish whiskey. It contains 14.5% alcohol and is manufactured by Halewood International Beverages, Dublin.
Similar information is provided on the rear along with the suggestion that it will taste great on the rocks or straight. Personally it seems a shame to water down Irish creams and this does tend to make them taste milkier, so I'll always skip the ice. I have kept this in the fridge as recommended, something that I don't normally do with the baileys as that label doesn't recommend it. I would prefer to drink it at room temperature however. There is no sell by or use by date.
Given the fantastically cheap price and the fact that this tastes great and is so similar to Baileys I have to give Irish Meadow 5 stars. Off to the supermarket to buy some more now as I've just drained the last drops out of the bottle while writing this review - no need to wait until Christmas now - I can afford this!
Summary: On a blind test we couldn't tell Irish Meadow apart from Baileys.