Alright, everyone, if you’ve been paying attention to my twitter account (@spicefreakblog) then you might already know that I recently got another bottle free from The Chilli Alchemist.
This time, however, it’s not a review sample. Their latest gift came with any purchase at Reading Chilli Fest because the product in question has been discontinued. They are nolonger making their Elixir Orientem.
So, while I have been enjoying that sauce on my macaroni cheese, it’s not what I’m here to talk to you about today. No, today’s product is the new one that takes its place:
Their mango and aji amarillo chilli sauce, quite simply named “Aurum” after its golden colour.
The company then go on to claim that this name is a play on the international notation for gold, “Au”, and the sauce’s rum content but, with Au being nothing more than a shortening of the latin word for gold, “Aurum” itself, I find their attempt at humour falls somewhat flat.
Mango, chilli and rum, however, are a fairly tried and true combination for a caribbean style, fruit-based sauce and the rest of the ingredients give me a good deal of faith in it as well.
But, before we talk about my thoughts on the sauce itself, let’s have a little look at its label.
What we see behind the name and brief description of the sauce appears to be the contents of a shipwreck cove, surrounding an old parchment map that strongly suggests the hiding place of buried treasure. Perhaps some forgotten pirate booty?
It’s clever, combining the gold associated with this particular chilli, the fact that rum was once the drink of choice for seafarers, and the common connection between pirates and the caribbean. It tells us nearly everything we need to know about the sauce and it does so without being too explicit about it.
It even fits in with the old scroll motif of the company themselves, despite its only tie to their true mystical theme being the faint symbol on the front.
A symbol, I believe, that represents copper. Which carries no clear meaning here.
Yet, while we’re still talking about mock-parchment, there is one other touch I love. The same fake burnt label edges, printed onto clear plastic, that we saw when I reviewed their Magnum Opus.
These seem to have become a mainstay of The Chilli Alchemist’s bottle art and I, for one, am most pleased. The look of their previous “standard bottles” was not ideal.
So, with my initial observations out the way, I’m feeling a little iffy about this new product. The name is fine but doesn’t work as intended and, while some of the design elements are top notch, others do seem a bit off.
What’s really going to determine whether I like it or not, though, is what it tastes like, not how it’s dressed up.
It’s time for me to dig in.
Getting it out the bottle isn’t hard at all. This sauce seems to be the thinnest that the company have maded, with a runny, almost soup-like consistency.
Yet it’s mostly mango and that’s exactly how it smells.
Tastewise, it’s certainly got some acidity to it from its vinegar and lime content but neither is too prominent in its flavour. The lime is very low down on the list and, while the rice wine vinegar might not be, its also one of the milder tasting varieties, meaning that, while it’s certainly noticeable, the smooth mango still takes centre stage.
The chilli, however, makes itself reasonably well known, even at 2%, with the low end of a
at the back and roof of my mouth. Yet, in terms of flavour, it still seems like only a minor ingredient, being quite subtle in its yellow pepper taste*.
Just like the rum, which provides little more than some gentle, dark spice notes to add depth to the sauce’s fruity body. Spice notes that definitely add a sense of sophistication, though.
And then, finally, there’s the vanilla bean. Not one of the main selling points of this product but probably my favourite addition, this adds another layer of smooth flavour that really sets Aurum apart from other mango sauces.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it makes it a dessert sauce.
The Alchemist may suggest this on fish, chicken, pork or salad (yes to those last two, by the way) but my first thoughts were apple pie, vanilla icecream and either ginger or toffee cake.
I’ve heard others suggest hot sauce on puddings before but never, in my entire time reviewing, has the idea felt quite this right.
Aside from its low medium heat, the non-mango elements of this sauce might be a little subtle but they come together exquisitely into a product that’s opened my eyes to a whole new usage. This one’s golden, if you’ll excuse my own dire pun.
*The aji amarillo is technically an orange pepper, despite amarillo meaning “yellow” in spanish. It is, however, often picked a little early when it still matches its namesake colour and that is what I’m tasting here.