August 10th: Lily O'Briens Irish Cream / Champagne Truffles

There's nothing better than receiving an unexpected parcel full of chocolates, and this is exactly what I got last week from ChocolateMission reader Lucy. Lucy was so kind enough to send me both these Irish Cream & Champagne flavoured Lily O'Briens chocolates, both of which I have reviewed below.

For those that haven't heard of Lily O'Briens before, I can tell you that they are Irish based company formed in 1992 by none other than Lily O'Brien (funny that!). On their website they claim to offer 'a mouth-watering repertoire of delicious chocolates using the finest ingredients'. Back in 2008, under the recommendation of some of my readers I took a look at some of their chocolate bar offerings, which managed to score around the average mark of 7.6 out of 10 on the ChocolateMission rating scale (See HERE). Although those bars hardly set the world alight, Lucy claimed that these were some 'of the best truffles ever' - who was I to turn down some free chocolates :D

As you can see below both types of truffles came in similar looking packaging that consisted of an outer cardboard box with an inner plastic tray containing the separate pieces. In regards to the quality of the presentation I have to give a thumbs up to both of the variants. Lily O'Briens did a great job making the exterior box look like it was made for a premium brand with all the smart looking golden fonts and tempting looking photos. What impressed me majorly about both types of chocolates was the fact that the actual chocolates looked exactly like they did in the aforementioned photographs - I tried recreating the effect as best I could myself.

Below are my brief thoughts on each of the flavours.

Lily O'Briens Irish Cream Truffles

'A white chocolate truffle laced with Irish Cream and smothered in milk chocolate'

There was absolutely no chance of me trying these Irish Cream flavoured truffles without giving my sister the chance to give cast her valued second opinion (she adores Baileys!). Luckily for me this was no real issue, as the chocolates came in a 100.0g box that contained a more than plentiful 8 truffles. In terms of aromas the chocolates were immediately impressive, emanating a nice set of boozie, dairy scents that wafted from the tray as soon as I released the box seal.

Placing the first truffle in my mouth (my gob was just about big enough to handle the large size!), the first set of flavours to greet me palette were rather underwhelming. Indeed the milk chocolate was just as I remembered it, with it's smooth, yet uneventful sweet milky taste. Thankfully much better things can be said of the truffle filling, which was simply delightful in every which way. Initially it brought an added dose of cream based white chocolate flavours, though it wasn't long before a little note of Irish whiskey came to the party bringing with it a modest boozie kick and pleasant warming sensation. More often than not, alcohol filled truffles came hide startling boozie kicks that take over the taste, but what both my sister and I really loved about these truffles was the fact that the flavour progression felt so natural and the smooth tasting. We both really enjoyed these and would both recommend them to all Irish Cream lovers.

8.0 out of 10

Lily O'Briens Champagne Truffles

'A white chocolate truffle with 'Marc De Champagne', smothered in milk chocolate with a dark chocolate swirl'.

As much as these looked very appealing they were always going to be facing the tough comparartor of the Hotel Chocolat Champagne Truffles I reviewed back in December 2008 (See HERE). Those Hotel Chocolat truffles are a long time favourite of my mother, so like I did with my sister for the above Irish Cream chocolates, I employed her services when it came to the taste testing. Again this was no problem given the 100.0g eight truffle format.

Upon removing the cardboard lid and surrounding packaging layers I was met with some more subdued chocolatey aromas compared to the boozier Irish Cream scents. Just as I described above, the exterior milk chocolate layer played a very similar role, and it again wasn't until the revelation of the inner champagne filling that the taste really came to life. Like the Irish Cream truffles, the first flavours established by the centres were cream based with the alcoholic influence shortly following during the mid stages of pleasant feeling soft melt. Our thoughts on the champagne element were that it was well integrated in to the filling, though the slightly sourer bozzieness lacked the charm of the Irish Cream which we thought worked a little better and more naturally with the overall taste. Whilst these weren't in the same class as the Hotel Chocolate Champagne Truffles I would still say they are at least worth consideration given their cheaper price and overall fair quality.

7.5 out of 10

Thanks again to Lucy for sending me both of these products.