I was really pleased to receive this product to try because I am cow milk intolerant. My partner likes to make a variation on a White Russian cocktail using regular Baileys as part of the cream/dairy constituent, so I’m looking forward to trying this at some point with the dairy free substitute!
The bottle design is appealing and goes well with the product, but I admit I had some reservations on the first tasting. I’m not keen on nut-based milk substitutes generally and tend to stick to either goats milk or rice milk because they go better in my tea and with cereal.
Nut milks tend to have a specific flavour of their own which adds another taste ‘strand’ to anything you use them with and the Vegan Baileys did present as having quite a bitter almond ‘nose’ once poured.
However, the sweetness is there from the cane sugar when you drink it and the vanilla, which is difficult to detect just by smell came through quite subtly and doesn’t overpower the mix. The flavours are nicely balanced.
I think almond milk was the right choice to go with out of various milk substitutes. Almond has more associations with desserts including marzipan and this feels like something you could have as an after dinner liqueur, although it would be interesting to see how hazelnut might work as well; not coconut, I think too many people dislike it and it would be too strong a flavour.
I’m really glad it’s not soy as I can’t stand it and it’s highly likely to come from a GMO crop which I’d rather not consume. I did note from the label that there is some soy content as well, so some indication on the bottle that the ingredients are GMO free would be reassuring.
My partner and I made a comparison with regular Baileys which did have a creamier and more luxurious kind of texture and flavour to it. At first, the whole taste and experience of the regular Baileys seemed better but once I’d got used to the nutty aroma of the Vegan version, I thought it tasted more natural and the regular stuff seemed to have an almost chemical aftertaste to it by comparison.
My partner also decided to play a bit of a game with this and got me to do a blind tasting between regular Baileys, the Vegan Baileys, and a concoction made with Vodka and some plain almond milk. It was very easy to tell which was which and I definitely do NOT recommend the vodka and almond milk, it’s absolutely foul!
Although it’s pleasant to drink, given a choice, as a drink on its own at a bar or pub, I’d probably still rather go for a good single malt whisky. Also, at £20 a bottle, to me it doesn’t seem that ‘serious’ a drink to warrant the price, say, when compared to, for example, a 12-year old Glenfiddich from about £24.
However, it would work well as an accompaniment to dessert or after dinner liqueur. I would probably try it on my family, some of whom also have problems with dairy. Or I could imagine pouring it over a baked banana with some honey, or even soaking into a portion of Christmas pudding.
I feel it’s worth having in stock as I’ve discovered it mixes well with chocolate flavoured hazelnut drink as a nightcap or as a mix in a cocktail, as it gives me the opportunity to share a ‘safe’ White Russian experience with my partner. I’d also like to see how it mixes with some Polish cherry liqueur by Soplica introduced to us by a Polish friend.
Thanks for the chance to try this and we had some fun with it too. Cheers!