As one bottle reaches its end, another two come to light. For today, dear readers, we’re taking another look at Daddy Cool’s. At his Ghost Pepper Extreme and Jeepers Reapers Revenge.
Two of his hottest sauces, both in rather more current packaging than my past reviews, yet absolutely nothing to do with 📽️ the other Jeepers Reapers 📽️ that I tried. And still equally unrelated to Star wars.
But, while these sauces may be made for heat, they have a lot more going on than just that.
The Ghost Pepper Extreme is made with butternut squash, coconut water and an assortment of smoked ingredients to enhance the bhut’s flavour, while Jeepers Reapers Revenge contains scotch bonnet, roasted tomato and papaya to compliment its reaper chilli. I can’t say that I fully understand what that means for either but, having had Steve Cooley’s products before, I’m expecting the best.
Especially as this is only the second reaper sauce that I’ve seen boast a great taste award.
Alongside that, both bottles still bear the company name in white, atop and encircled by a pair of red cayennes. This time, though, that name is in a borderless, brushstroke font to match the edges of the logo’s black background. A background which now completely replaces the white circle that we saw on his Fatalii Attraction.
It’s bolder and the name stands out more. The red on black gives an impression of strength – Be that in heat or flavour – while the almost handwritten look of the new font choice keeps things friendly.
I like this logo change a lot and the new, dark to light, gradient background appeals to me rather more than the partial commitment to action lines that it’s replaced. The only change that I’m not so fond of comes in what surrounds the sauce name.
The bold white on a black background works and, while it may be hard to see in my photos, the coloured third word, matching the gradient background above, is far more readable and impactful in person. Yet where are the chillies? What happened to enclosing the name with the peppers from the sauce?
Now, the only visual indicator of what to expect is the colour of each label. Something which I’m not even sure makes sense on the green-packaged ghost pepper sauce.
This new design looks a lot better, over all, and I love the little flaming fire extinguishers by the heat rating and the Chilli Alchemist inspired, fake-torn edges. I just miss that one little element that showed us the contents.
But here are the ingredients lists, so that you can at least read what goes into them:
For the Ghost Pepper Extreme:
Vine Tomatoes, Cider Vinegar (SULPHITES), Ghost Chilli (14%), Butternut Squash (Roasted), Coconut Water, Habanero Chilli (8%), Onions, Smoked Garlic, Molasses, Lime Juice, Aleppo Chilli (2%), Olive Oil, Smoked Paprika, Mixed Herbs, Bay Leaf.
For the Jeepers Reapers Revenge:
Vine Ripe Roasted Tomatoes, Papaya, Fresh Carolina Reaper Chilli (14%), Cayenne Chilli Mash (13%) (salt, acetic acid), Onions, Sugarcane, Fresh Scotch Bonnet Chilli (9%), Red Wine Vinegar (SULPHITES), Molasses, White Wine Vinegar (SULPHITES), Fresh Lime Juice, Garlic, Olive Oil, Salt, Mixed Herbs.
And, if you’re wondering why he uses two different wine vinegars, I can answer that before I’ve even tried the sauce:
The reaper is a mellow-tasting chilli with some berry-like qualities to it. It benefits a lot from the deep, rich, cooked red berry notes present in red wine vinegar. Yet those notes are tied to its tanins – A component which can be dry, bitter and cloying in high quantities.
In my own sauce making experiments, I’ve found that red wine vinegar often needs to be cut with a low-tanin, white grape sort to get the right level of acidity without overdoing that dry wine flavour.
So, odd as it may seem, using a blend of vinegars actually shows a great degree of understanding. Both in terms of what pairs with your chilli and what pairs with that pairing, to keep its less desirable elements in check.
But perhaps it’s too early to start praising the maker. Perhaps I should try their products, first.
On the left, we have the Ghost Pepper extreme, a thin yet pulpy, orange-brown sauce with pieces of pepper and herb strewn throughout. Its aroma a blend of rich, dark, roasted red chilli and taco-style spices. Not a hint of the pumpkin and carrot-like squash at all.
While, on the right, we have a thicker sauce of a reddier brown nature that strongly hints at its higher heat. The Jeepers Reapers Revenge is just as pulpy but we see something else amidst the pieces here – tiny droplets of red oil that have made their way out of its chillies. Chillies that largely dominate the scent of today’s second product.
No doubt remains in my mind that that one’s going to be hotter, so let’s start comparatively mild with the ghost.
I do mean it when I say “comparatively”, though, ’cause even the Ghost Pepper Extreme reaches the low end of my
by the time that it’s done growing, as if it were rather more of a first ingredient ghost sauce than it really is.
Yet there are many sauces with such heat. It’s the journey, not that destination, that sets Daddy Cool’s ghost pepper sauce apart.
That carroty squash that I didn’t get on the nose is, never the less, the first thing to hit my tongue. But it’s not the fresh flavour of the fruit, it’s more like a baked, orange, root vegetable and, combined with the tomatoes and cider vinegar, it forms a smooth, warming, very slightly tangy taste, reminiscent of Dana’s sriracha & sweet potato dip.
It isn’t long, however, before a slight char makes itself known and the smoke of the garlic and paprika join in to add both depth and richness. Accompanied, all the while, by a very complimentary blend of bay, oregano and possibly basil.
This sauce isn’t going to go on pre-made pizza but it could definitely find its way into the sauce, were I topping my own. And Steve certainly isn’t wrong when he suggests a cheese sarnie, though I’d warm that up before eating for an even greater experience.
It’s rather mexican-tasting, too, so this will definitely find a home in burritos or refried beans, as he says, but I’d go a step further and try it in a non-carne (vegan bean chilli), as well.
Cold meats? Yes. Kebabs? Yes. Tomato-based pasta sauces? Yes. Or mix it into something herbier and coat fusilli in an almost pesto-like blend made with it. Just go easy there unless you want a tonne of heat.
The only one of his suggestions that I find questionable is pairing it with seafood and, even then, I reckon that something strong, like salmon, would work very nicely.
The chilli flavour isn’t the most prominent part of his Ghost Pepper Extreme but it’s their throughout, complimenting both the paprika and the rich, roasted fruit/veg. Aside from a slight touch of bitterness, which is masked by most food, it’s seriously tasty and a strong flavour contender in the super hot heat bracket.
So, let’s see if his papaya-enhanced reaper sauce is worthy of that same praise.
It, too, is just the tiniest bit bitter, upfront, but that’s quickly masked by the gentle taste of the fruit. Fruit which is, itself, all but hidden by the slightly ketchupy blend of roast tomato and berry-like peppers. Both the scotch bonnet and the reaper contributing to that side of the product.
The reaper takes over far more in its flavour as the heat develops, though, and its never sweet or tangy enough to truly class as a ketchup. For something that’s roughly ten percent sugarcane, this sauce is surprisingly savoury and it even takes on a tinge of reaper sourness at its finish.
In fact, while there are other notes to support it, the whole experience is very heavy on the sauce’s namesake pepper. A fact that’s backed up by its whopping
that warms the throat and stings my entire mouth. Hitting everywhere but burning the tip of my tongue just a tiny bit more than everywhere else.
It’s a versatile sauce, so long as you can stand that strength, and it’s go well with everything from burger and chips to macaroni cheese, soups, stews, meats, con carne and most tomato-based sauces.
It isn’t, perhaps, as distinctive and different a flavour as today’s other product but it will certainly provide a real reaper sauce experience, if that’s what you’re after, and I would happily recommend both it and the Ghost Pepper Extreme. Both are just as solid as the rest of Daddy Cool’s creations.