Editor’s Note: This liqueur was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Celebrity-owned spirits brands have become more and more prevalent in the last few decades. The response to the brands has also been all over the map. Some brands are not viewed as bringing much to the industry. Other celebrity brands have made products viewed as more respectable and have gained a dedicated following. And a small minority have created whiskeys that can compete in the upper echelons of the whiskey world.
Few, if any, celebrities have chosen to be involved with a whiskey-based liqueur, but that is exactly what Mariah Carey did when she tied her name to Black Irish Original Irish Cream Liqueur. The brand came into being as a way of celebrating the singer’s heritage, being half black and half Irish. The liqueur is also a nod to Carey’s association with the holidays.
“I wanted to create something that embodies the holidays and gives everyone a reason to celebrate year-round, and I really think I’ve done that with Black Irish” – Mariah Carey
Black Irish bills itself as being crafted in Ireland from Irish whiskey and cream. There are 3 versions of the brand available; Original, Salted, and White Chocolate.
All has not been smooth sailing for the fledgling brand though; upon the release of Black Irish in 2021, Carey sued Darker Still Spirits, a company based in Dublin. Darker Still Spirits had, at the time, an Irish Stout blended with an Irish Whiskey that was also called Black Irish and was sold in both the EU and UK markets since 2020. After two years the legal battle was over, with Carey agreeing to buy the name Black Irish from Darker Still Spirits, and the Dublin company agreeing to rebrand their product as Born Irish. The rebranding has been scheduled to be completed by summer 2023.
“We are delighted to have solved this trademark issue with Mariah’s team so that we are both able to sell our respective brands in our desired territories,” said Richard Ryan, co-creator of Born Irish.
Tasting Notes: Black Irish Original Irish Cream Liqueur
Vital Stats: Liqueur made from Irish Whiskey and Cream. 34 Proof (17% ABV), 750ml, MSRP $29
Appearance: Looks almost identical to lightly flavored chocolate milk.
Nose: Has aromas of malted milk balls, caramel apples, and cocoa.
Palate: Flavors of many desserts including; toasted marshmallows, milk chocolate, and cooked caramels.
Finish: A cloying viscosity diminishes rapidly leaving nothing but lingering notes of milk chocolate.
Review: Black Irish Original Irish Cream Liqueur
As I’m not a consumer who this brand is targeted to, take this with a grain of salt, but I can honestly say that I prefer this over Bailey’s Irish Cream. While I’d probably never choose to buy an Irish Cream Liqueur, I’m surprised to say that Mariah Carey’s brand would be one of my top choices.
If you are looking to spice up your usual choice of cream liqueurs, Black Irish Original Irish Cream might be a good option for you.
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Joshua Wilford has been in the restaurant business for the past two decades. His tenure in the industry includes working in leadership roles at bourbon bars in and around Kentucky as well as half a decade in the iconic Multnomah Whiskey Library. He has also received certifications from The Wine...