Ballycastle Irish Cream scoops ‘Master’ spirit

Aldi's Ballycastle Classic Irish Cream scooped top honours at Spirits Business Liqueur Masters 2014. INBM51-14S
Aldi's Ballycastle Classic Irish Cream scooped top honours at Spirits Business Liqueur Masters 2014. INBM51-14S

A budget £4.29 Irish Cream Liqueur from Aldi has scooped the top award at an internationally renowned drinks competition, alongside products more than triple its price

Ballycastle Irish Cream was described by judges as ‘everything you’d expect from a cream liqueur – thick, creamy and luscious’.

Crowned a ‘Master’ spirit, the budget brand’s Irish Cream Liqueur went head to head with premium drinks brands at the prestigious Spirits Business Liqueur Masters 2014 awards.

‘The classic Irish cream had a good balance of flavour and richness with no cloying mouthfeel, which can often be very typical of this category,’ judge Pritesh Mody said.

It placed alongside £17.95 bottle of Mozart Distillerie White Chocolate Cream - which was also given the coveted Master medal.

Made from a blend of fresh Ballyrashane dairy cream and the triple distilled Irish whiskey, the drink was just one of Aldi’s spirits to clean up.

The awards are organised by The Spirits Business Magazine.

Blind tastings were conducted by a panel of four: Becky Paskin of The Spirits Business Magazine; Matt Armitage, co-founder of Craft Cocktail Co; Harry Bellenberg, head bartender at The Cadogan Arms; and Pritesh Mody, founder of food and drink emporium World of Zing.

In the traditional liqueurs category, the judges were impressed by Giffard’s Menthe-Pastille, a mint liqueur that, with a nose of crushed Polos and a palate of After Eight centres, scored the only Master of the round.

The standout fruit liqueurs were Joseph Cartron’s Cherry Brandy, which according to judges, delivered a mouthful of ripe fruit macerated along with its stones, skins and branches. Distillerie Bepi Tosolini’s Fragola Spezieria (wild strawberry) also received a Master medal for its ‘complex flavours.’

Three medals were awarded to the Amarettos – a Master, Silver and Gold, with the top accolade going to Fruko Shulz.

Sambuca standouts were both from Antica, winning golds for their ‘rounded palate’ and ‘simplicity’, which judges agreed was key in this category to allow the spirits’ inherent anise notes to shine.

Products from Distillerie Bepi Tosolini and Nonino Distillatori both won Masters in the Herbal Liqueurs and Bitters category and were described as ‘stand out products’ by the panel.

The supermarket also scooped the ‘Consistency in Excellence’ trophy; a one-off accolade giving special recognition to Aldi’s high quality spirits.

Tony Baines, MD Buying at Aldi, said: ‘We constantly strive to offer our customers the cream of the crop – and our spirits portfolio is no exception. We’re delighted that our commitment to quality has been recognised by some of the world’s leading drinks experts.’

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