Pros: Smooth, delicious flavor whether by itself or in a cocktail or coffee
First of all, I want to thank John Staradumsky (aka "brugura"), the lead in this category, for adding this product way back on March 11th of this year.
Secondly, I'll point out that this is a very unusual category for me since I no longer drink. However, when a friend of ours who had lived in South Africa for a few years introduced this liqueur to my wife and me, I had to take a sip. I loved it "straight up" although my wife drank it in coffee and also liked it.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF AMARULA CREAM
Amarula Cream comes from the fruit of the Marula tree which cannot be cultivated by man and grows only in one region of the world--the frost free region of subequatorial Africa. The tree is called the "Elephant Tree" and the "Marriage Tree" by natives of the South African area in which the tree grows.
It's called "Elephant Tree" because it attracts huge herds of the majestic beasts during the ripening season of the fruit each year. The elephants love the fruit so much that they butt their heads into the trunks of the Marula trees and partake of the fruit (which when ripened has a yellow skin and a white flesh inside with a very large stone or nut in the middle.) My friend witnessed the end result of several elephants partaking of the fermented fruit and said it was a sight to behold. Imagine large creatures stumbling around drunk as skunk. Also, imagine the hangovers for these large mammals.
The Marula tree is also called the "Marriage Tree" because the fruit of the tree supposedly has "aphrodisiac properties" and countless marriages are performed underneath the beautiful tree.
Amarula Cream was first introduced to South Africa in 1989 and now is sold in over 150 countries in the world by the Distell Group.
THE TASTE OF THE LIQUEUR
Once again, I must point out that I'm not much of a drinker. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that I am a diabetic and drinking is not good for me. The second reason is that I am the son of two alcoholics and I'm proud to be in a 10% group of male sons of two alcoholics who become sick when they drink. I'm "proud" of this because, according to studies, 75% of such sons become alcoholics.
Anyway, with those factors mentioned, if I drink anything, it is this liqueur. The only other liqueur I like in the somewhat similar Amaretta. They both have a sweet taste that, to me, is not overwhelmingly sweet but Amarula is far more creamy tasting. In fact, my first impression upon tasting it, is that it reminds me of a chocolate milkshake. It is extremely smooth, and, as I mentioned, I like it straight. It can also be served over ice, in coffee or in a myriad of mixed drinks that are included on the Amarula Cream website.
The liqueur has the typical 17% alcohol content (34 proof) but has almost no alcohol taste. This could be dangerous, of course, if you consumed a whole bottle. But, such consumption is beyond common sense due to the rich quality of the liqueur. Of course, who says alcohol consumption and common sense are typical. I just think the drink is too rich to consume a high quantity.
But, it is delicious, and the website also includes a number of recipes for the cream's inclusion in food such as Amurula strawberries, Amarula spicy fish, ultimate carrot cake and various bread and other puddings. I haven't tried any of these but I imagine they are delicious.
Every person that I have introduced the liqueur to has liked it. If you live in South Africa, my friend tells me, you can buy a bottle of it for around $11. Here, it costs us $21. In my opinion, it is worth the cost. I don't drink it all that often but when I do, I am always pleased with the taste.
The bottle itself is interesting in that its main feature is the picture of a majestic African elephant. The elephant is standing in front of a Marula tree and he is surrounded by pictures of the yellowish fruit.
The Distell Group has given over R 3 million over five years for African Elephant research. I was lazy and didn't find out what "R" is equivalent to in U.S. dollars but it is nice that the company is contributing to research for elephants.
I heartily recommend the liqueur as a different drink from the usual after dinner drinks that are better known. It's unique flavor is very satisfying.