It’s thursday again, fiery food fans, and it’s a weird one.
Once again, I’m bringing you a sauce review off schedule. And no, it’s not for jokey reasons like last time.
Noone’s said that this sauce or its peppers are inedible. It’s just not available in the UK.
It’s an australian sauce that focuses on a unique heat source – A distant relative of black pepper known as the tasmanian mountain pepper.
Or, in some cases, the diemen pepper berry, the name from which today’s company get theirs.
This sauce comes to me from Heat Hot Sauce Shop in the states.
They offered to send me another product that caught my interest but I had to refuse because I couldn’t review it. It just wasn’t relevant to my non-american audience.
But Diemen’s is different. Its unique selling point allows me to look past the sauce itself and talk about what the pepper berry can bring to other products, too.
So, while I am going to be reviewing the sauce on show, today’s post is going to put most of its focus on that weird black fruit that makes it special. Because that hopefully holds interest for chefs and future producers the world over.
Before I do, though, I’ve got to say thankyou to the people who sent this to me. So far as I can tell, Heat Hot Sauce have little to gain from sending anything to a small, UK-based reviewer like myself and even less when it’s a product that I only found out they had as they were discontinuing it.
Yet they went out of their way to give me free stuff for review. An item of my own choice, even, that I’d had my eye on for most of a year.
An item which arrived in just two weeks and in perfect photographing condition.
The way that they’ve treated me has been beyond all expectation and they have a great selection of highly regarded american artisan sauces.
Postage to the UK is, understandably, quite pricey but it’s a lot less from them than some places so, if you happen to be importing anyway, they get a solid recommendation from me.
Now, onto today’s item of interest.
It’s a large bottle (250ml) of dark red sauce, adorned with some curious, almost tribal imagery up top featuring the canine wildlife of tasmania, decorated eyes, flaming trumpets, a skull and the silhouette of a ship. Mysterious black berries worked in in numerous places, presumably representing those in the sauce.
Does this signify danger or just represent the natural environment of their mountain pepper? Is that skull and pair of eyes meant to imply the demons in their blurb? Or is it somehow all just there to play into their red and yellow “australian made” banner? It’s hard to say for sure.
What’s a lot easier to explain, though, is the other half of their middle oval’s art.
The fiery pit beneath the white banner and chains that hold their name. The naked but carefully self-censored red-haired woman trapped with.
This is the underworld. The seductive hell that potentially awaits inside the bottle. And it is, as they imply, quite enticing.
It’s a good looking bottle of sauce, with its off-white label edges giving it an aged look and the chains that divided the art also surrounding that oval and even circling around their shrink wrap up top.
They definitely play into the theme of evil that has been sealed away and shouldn’t be unleashed. The same sort of reverse psychology that has me habitually ignoring warnings and eating exceedingly hot stuff.
Yet their blurb advertises the sauce as a way to add “a touch of mischief to your meal” and talks more about the unusual length of its burn than any serious strength.
Either way, though, it’s finally time for us to break those chains and taste the sauce within.
The ingredients listed on the bottle are:
Red Chilli Puree (Red C̰ayenne, Red Habanero) (contains Acetic Acid), Vinegar, Water, Salt, Garlic, Diemen Pepper Berries (0.44%), Xantham Gum.
And, quite frankly, I don’t like this one.
It’s powerfully vinegary and almost as strongly cayenne, as if Tabasco had three times the flavour and a slightly different pepper.
However, there are some more pleasant tones beneath that quite acidic base.
Small fruity hints of habanero and a slightly sweet yet also slightly savoury dark berry. A berry which ever so loosely resembles black olives (though that likeness may be brought on by the vinegar it’s paired with), as well as being one which becomes peppery later on.
This pepper berry, with its rather unusual combination of pepper and berry elements, is sadly not the focus of this sauce’s flavour.
Yet it’s not nearly as hidden as the garlic, either, at it does give a peppery, throaty continuation to this sauce’s low
On the high end of what I’d call medium but taking a few minutes to even start dying down, like some superhot sauces.
While I may not like this sauce’s flavour, I certainly like the feel of it and the peppery aftertaste makes it seem almost mexican.
And it is worth noting that the company are aware of its potential to overpower, giving it a seemingly standard flow restrictor nozzle. One that works a little better than most, though.
For whatever reason, be it the consistency of the sauce or some minute change to that cap itself, it doesn’t stop you from pouring. The sauce comes out freely when you want it to, yet is still easy to drip onto meals when you don’t. It’s an excellent balance that leaves the user free to choose without making them remove part of the bottle.
But no amount of good packaging can make up for bad taste and, while their signature ingredient has merit, I can clearly see why this sauce didn’t catch on in the US.
It’s quite palatable on fish but will never be my first choice for any food, I’m sad to say.