Baileys have released a number of flavoured editions over the years, the most recent being the delicious Orange Truffle, but this month sees the release of a particularly special one: Baileys Chocolat Luxe. Made with real Belgian chocolate and lots of hard work by Anthony Wilson, the son of Steve Wilson, who came up with the formulation for the Original Baileys, this version takes a step into the luxury liqueur market.
Bottled at 15.7% ABV (Original Baileys is 17% ABV), Chocolat Luxe contains over 30g of real Belgian milk chocolate per bottle, in addition to Madagascan vanilla, caramel and Irish cream. It’s worth noting, though, that this isn’t just another flavour variant of the popular cream liqueur; rather, it was created to be a “molten chocolate experience”. So let’s have a taste and see how it fares.
Tasting notes (served straight from the fridge)
Pour: Firstly, I think it’s worth noting that this even pours luxuriously. It seems more viscous than the Original Baileys, pooling almost seductively in the bottom of the glass. I don’t normally take much notice of such things, but I did with this one.
Nose: This smells exactly how I expected it to: rich, Belgian chocolate, cream, and creamy caramel. I’m particularly reminded of expensive Belgian chocolates with a soft caramel centre, or the filling of a chocolate tart. This could have been a really sickly smell, but there’s just a hint of bitterness that stops that from happening, somewhat reminiscent of dark chocolate or salted caramel.
Taste: This has a luxuriously thick texture. After a second or two, there’s then a creamy note of Belgian chocolate and a burst of caramel sweetness. The familiar, creamy notes of Baileys with a hint of vanilla then kick in, before the chocolate returns to the forefront. Hints of dark chocolate again appear around the edges, just ensuring that it isn’t too sweet or one-dimensional. I’m also reminded of the creamy, strawberry notes that I get from some poteen (like Knockeen Hills).
Finish: Lovely, Belgian chocolate and double cream. Despite the thick texture, it’s not sickly or cloying, but still has a weightiness to it – quite a fine line to walk, but all of that experimentation during the development stages has obviously paid off!
When you have something as intriguing and complex as this liqueur, mixing it can be a bit tricky; you could easily lose some of the character and texture of the product. As such, we simply opted to try a dollop in an Espresso, a sort of short Mocha, if you will.
The result is an absolutely scrumptious liqueur coffee. The creaminess of the liqueur comes through, along with some of the Belgian chocolate notes, softening the bitterness of the coffee without covering it up with sweetness. The combination of chocolate and coffee reminds me even more of dark chocolate. Indeed, even DTS (who always drinks his coffee in Espresso form without even the suggestion of milk) happily finished off this drink.
My views of the flavoured editions of Baileys are mixed, but I think they’ve chosen the right route to go down with this product, setting it apart from both the others in the range and any other cream liqueur that I’ve tasted. It’s really very masterfully done: it has delicious, genuine notes of Belgian chocolate and caramel, and the texture is the perfect combination of weighty cream and smoothness. Particularly when served straight from the fridge, this could easily replace a dessert. Needless to say, if you like Baileys and chocolate, I’d recommend giving this a try. A lot of time and effort went into creating Bailey’s Chocolat Luxe* and, in my mind, it was certainly worth it.
– Mrs. B.
Baileys Chocolat Luxe is currently available from Harvey Nichols at £16.99 for 50cl.
*Over 200 varieties of chocolate were tasted and the final formula was the 840th tried.