Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Trader Joe's Golden Vale Irish Cream Liqueur

Ah, Irish cream. I can remember the first time I tried it. I couldn't tell you the exact date for sure, but I want to say it was right around St. Patrick's Day, probably in the late winter/early spring of 2001. Two of my PSU flatmates and I traveled to a local state store in Centre County, PA to grab a bottle of Bailey's. Since we were all on a college budget, we split the cost three ways and spent the remainder of the evening sitting around in our living room, sipping on the smooth, sweet liqueur on ice. We measured each glass ounce by ounce, making sure none of us got too much more than the others. To us, that stuff was pure gold.

Speaking of gold, I had to look up "Golden Vale." Apparently, it's a region in southwestern Ireland. I'd love to visit someday. Those rolling hills and green pastures look so peaceful and placid. And hey, they apparently make some Irish cream there. Also, I wonder what St. Paddy's Day is like in Ireland...

See there I spelled it "St. Paddy's Day." I got yelled at by some proud Irish folk for calling it "St. Patty's Day" a few years back. They insisted that "Patty" with "t's" is always a girl's name, and that the version with "d's" is the boy's version, signifying Padraig. If that's the case, then why not call it Saint Padraig's Day even here in America? It's more authentic that way, right? I'm all about authenticity.

And on that note, it's time to point out that this Irish cream liqueur is, in fact, from Ireland. I like buying American when it's practical, but there are some goods that should be imported. This is one of them. I've had other brands of Irish cream liqueur from the good ol' USA before, and they fall decidedly shy of Bailey's and this offering from Trader Joe's. Another advantage of this version: it's one of the cheapest offerings I've seen, significantly less pricey than its name-brand counterpart—this one's $10.99 for the 750ml bottle. Bailey's is often $25 and up for the same size.

The taste? Exceptionally smooth and creamy. It's similar to other Irish cream liqueurs, but this one's a bit more in the direction of caramel. It looks and tastes just ever so slightly more "golden" than other Irish creams. It's still sweet, and there's a milky flavor to it, and the 17% ABV gives it a hint of an alcoholic harshness, but that caramel undertone makes it unique and very tasty. Sonia and I both agree it's just a tad better than Bailey's.

There's only about a week left until St. Padraig's Day. What will you be drinking? I don't know if I've ever seen Guinness at Trader Joe's, but I'd whip up some Irish car bombs if there's any of this Irish cream left over next week. I suppose a TJ's brand stout would do.

Four and a half stars from me. Four from Sonia.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.

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