How You Can Protect the African Elephant While Sipping Amarula

Reviewer’s Note: Sample of the product discussed here was provided at no cost in exchange for my honest review.

One of the best things about having taken on product reviews as a regular feature of this site some years ago is every so often, a review opportunity comes along that allows us to do some good. We’re talking “good” beyond just introducing our readers to food and kitchen products we think they will like; we mean the kind of things that have potential to actually make the world better. That such an opportunity has approached us while dressed like a “Virtual Safari” complete with exotic beverage sampling had us on board from the first word. In this instance, the beverage is the traditional South African cream liqueur known as Amarula, derived from the hand-harvested fruit of the Marula trees that grow wild across the continent’s subequatorial plains.

With the coolness of Autumn upon us and the holiday season just a few blocks up the road, now is the time to let the next round of drinks you pour be velvety cream liqueur libations. Amarula recently launched the campaign “Don’t Let Them Disappear,” and has a well-established history of contributing to efforts to protect African elephants. While poaching occurs in Africa, it is very much a global issue.

In its latest initiative, for every bottle of Amarula sold in the U.S., $1 will be donated to the incredible non-profit, WildlifeDIRECT. Launched this September and ongoing through the end of 2017, the initiative will support the organization’s on-the-ground conservation efforts to help save this magnificent species.

Moving on now, let’s address the logical next question upon learning all of that: what does it taste like?

Amarula offers up nutty, sugar-led aromatics that call to mind hot cocoa, caramel candies, vanilla milkshakes, and chopped hazelnuts. An essence of fruit underlies these, lending a cleanliness to its fragrance that departs distinctly from cream liqueurs with more pronounced alcohol in the bouquet, like Irish Cream, to which Amarula bears some visual resemblance.

On tasting, the liqueur’s first, most notable characteristic is a silken texture and a flavorscape that brings together nuts, homemade caramel, sweet vanilla, and faint chocolaty notes, blended with fresh cream and a fruit unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Despite the richness one tends to find in beverages that taste of creamy, sugary things like caramel and vanilla, Amarula remains light on the tongue, its sweetness retaining a fresh quality that never feels cloying or overworked. And although its alcohol content is significant at 17% abv, the alcohol never dominates the beverage, instead seeming to pause for a moment upon hitting the palate before adding its voice to the sugar and nuts.

A clean, warming finish full of dried fruit and toasted nuts awaits upon swallowing. Amarula is a pleasure to sip neat or on the rocks, alone or with desserts that feature chocolate, vanilla crème, caramel, or toffee. It adds comforting exotic flavor to cocktails as well as a steaming cup of coffee or hot cocoa. With the holidays approaching and bringing all manner of elaborate desserts with them, blending a bit of Amarula into your next batch of homemade whipped cream is a sure way to liven up any Afters course. The possibilities, much like the good to be derived from getting on board with the brand’s “Don’t let Them Disappear” campaign before the end of this year, are limitless.

Be sure to check back here later this month and throughout December for more photos of our experience working with Amarula in creative ways you’ll want to enjoy for yourself and share with all your holiday guests!

Learn more about Amarula and its work to help protect the African elephants at

Learn more about the crucial work being done by WildlifeDIRECT at

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