Hello there, everybody. Last week we looked at a few jams and one of them was really rather hot. It wasn’t super hot, though, despite using superhot chillies, so, today, we’re gonna go hotter. And we’re going to do it with a similar product type: Thai sweet sauces.
Essentially just bottles of pourable chilli jam.
We’ll start off mild, with Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s hungarian hot wax version, but quickly take a flying leap into the extreme with their Trinidad Scorpion sauce, recently featured on Hot Ones. Then, to finish off, we’re going to look at a very special breed of reaper from Chillis Galore.
It’s going to be a wild ride but I’ll have sweetness to balance out my suffering and I’ll make it through, as I always do, to bring you my thoughts on the whole lot.
Let’s get started!
Wiltshire Chilli Farm use the same logo here as on all of their other natural products – three chillies carved from a white decahedron, surrounded by their name and tag line. There’s nothing unique about the appearance of their Sweet Chilli Sauce, besides its bright yellow name. Even the two-tone red that they’ve chosen for its action lines is nearly identical to that of their scorpion sauce.
Yet why fix what isn’t broken? The company’s packaging looks fantastic and harkens back to their comic book inspiration, as I mentioned in my review of their Dark Habanero.
Plus, it’s possible that the yellow actually holds meaning here as, when I try it, the brightness of this product’s cider vinegar shines through amidst the red chilli flavour, tinged with sweetness and a good amount of garlic.
It adds a golden quality and tang that gives the sauce more depth than your standard sweet chilli-style, while also adding a touch of apple-based fruitiness.
And, despite typically preferring browned garlic, like in the ECCC’s sweet sauce, I think that the cooked but not roasted flavour of Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s pairs better with what they have here. It adds more of a savoury quality, to balance out the sweetness, and doesn’t need to add any caramelised notes when they’ve already used such a golden vinegar.
The Wiltshire Chilli Farm Sweet Chilli Sauce underwhelms a tad, in the fire department, with its
but then, I wasn’t expecting much. This isn’t a sauce designed for strength. It’s designed to appeal to the same market who like supermarket sweet chilli sauces. To provide the same level of spice with a far better flavour. And oh boy does it deliver on that!
This is easily my favourite mild sweet chilli. The only issue I have with it is its texture.
It’s a thinner sweet chilli sauce, more pourable than most, but it’s also full of seeds. Seeds that float to the top over time. Seeds that aren’t very pleasant when they make up the majority of a mouthful.
I would one hundred percent recommend this sauce but I’d also recommend storing it upside down, if at all possible, for a more even distribution.
But what if you do want hotter? Is their Trinidad Scorpion just as good?
Well its label certainly looks it, being practically identical. It simply uses slightly darker shades of red and a more orange name to distinguish itself. Perhaps in reference to the scorpion’s fruity, acidic, almost blood orange taste.
When I come to look at the contents, though, this second sauce is quite different:
The seeds and chilli flakes are barely noticeable in this one and the few that there are are rather smaller. It’s still a fast-flowing, sticky sauce but it feels like the majority of the peppers may have been blended in this time.
And, speaking of how it feels, that flying leap really went the distance. Wiltshire’s Trinidad Scorpion isn’t just a few steps up the scoville scale, it’s a whopping
in the throat that really gets me hiccuping. Even hotter than Hot Ones’ 100K rating would suggest.
It’s a late heat, though, held off for nearly a minute by the product’s sweetness, and the number seven spot seems a perfect fit for it. It may be super strong but it’s not nearly a natural record and it won’t hold up to the roughly twenty-five out of ten that Da Bomb’s Beyond Insanity reaches. A single spot further on and you likely wouldn’t feel or taste it at all.
Which would be a shame because its transition from a subtly orangey, sweet start to a sourer, slightly pungent, red pepper finish is a good one and one that I think would be made even better by the addition of chicken. Or, for that matter, by using it in a sweet and sour dish.
It doesn’t have the garlic that rounded out their milder sauce and nor does it make the most of its cider vinegar in the same way but it works with its blend of scorpion and bell peppers to craft something tasty, all the same. And it doesn’t share the mild sweet chilli’s texture troubles, which is nice.
So that’s two thoroughly enjoyable products, already, today but can we go three for three? Can Chillis Galore live up to Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s quality?
As the people behind an online chilli community and a catalogue of rare strains, I sincerely hope so. Yet, before I find out, I want to talk about one of those rare strains. Because, despite calling their sauce “The Reaper”, it doesn’t contain the reaper.
What it does contain is a reaper. A Butch T reaper, sometimes also called a Butch T reaper scorpion, BTR or BTRS.
This is a relatively new hybrid between the carolina reaper that we all know and the trinidad scorpion Butch T strain that, sadly, not everyone does.
I love the Butch T. It’s not the hottest scorpion strain – That would officially be the “moruga blend” – but it is a former world record and it is the fruitiest. The one with, in my mind, the greatest scorpion flavour.
So to see its creator, Butch Taylor, back on the scene with a potential new world record hybrid that will, hopefully, bring that flavour back into the spotlight, is a wonderful sight.
Let’s see if it’s also a wonderful taste:
Now I haven’t been mentioning the smell of any of these, until now, and that’s because there hasn’t been anything special to say, but this one’s different. This one doesn’t just smell of red peppers and vinegar.
No, the aroma on “The Reaper” is heavily tinged with soft fruit – Peaches, in particular – and, while there is some bell pepper to its finish, there’s also a mellow, lightly floral scent that comes across as a cross between carolina reaper and white ghost placenta.
The chilli in here does not smell of scorpion, Butch T or otherwise, but it smells delightful, all the same. And, furthermore, it smells perfect for a sweet peach sauce.
Yet that’s not what I first taste. I taste a scorpion, pure and simple. A really fruity, orangey scorpion, which is more reminiscent of sweetened pulp than the fruit’s juice, but still clearly a scorpion.
And, while there are some perfumed notes in with the gentle, sweetened fruit flavour that follows, this isn’t a very floral sauce at all. That naga placenta aroma doesn’t translate to a matching taste and the pepper simply provides us with uncharacteristically gentle scorpion notes. Ones that clearly carry some of the carolina reaper’s mellowness and allow the peach to slowly shine through.
The sauce starts out tangy, fades to a gentler, peachier mid-flavour and finally finishes slightly acidic, all without ever loosing that thai-style sweetness. It’s not the typical red chilli flavour or the pungent scorpion taste of Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s sauce but it’s a surprisingly good demonstration of a rare and delicious superhot hybrid.
And I say “surprisingly” for good reason, because this sauce is less than four percent chilli. There’s less reaper in this sauce than even Encona’s but it hits significantly harder, reaching the high end of a
at its peak.
I can’t guarantee that that isn’t down to preparation but I strongly suspect that this “Butch T reaper” is hotter than Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina sort, from which it was bred. Maybe in a few years, when it becomes a stable strain, it might take the record.
In this product, though, there’s too little to push nature’s boundaries. Too little, even, to surpass today’s scorpion sauce.
Chillis Galore have done a wonderful job of highlighting its flavour but you’re going to be disappointed if you expect even normal reaper heat. Wiltshire Chilli Farm are a much better bet if you want a swelteringly hot sweet chilli.
“The Reaper” is not a sauce for extreme heat seekers so much as for those seeking a new, sweet, tangy and fruity flavour in a familiar high heat bracket. For those who see a new superhot and think “I wonder what that tastes like?”, not “How much will it hurt?”.
In short, the mad people like me.
It’s going to find a lot of use over my noodles, seafood, enchiladas and fruit risotto. Not to mention it making a great glaze for chicken – As any of today’s three would.
And yes, for once, I’d recommend all three. Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s mild Sweet Chilli for normal, every day use. Their Trinidad Scorpion for a somewhat sweet and sour, super hot take on the same formula. And Chillis Galore’s “The Reaper” for the chilli connoisseurs among you.
That reaper sauce contains contains:
Sugar, Peppers, Peaches, Cider Vinegar, Hot Chilli Peppers (Butch T Reapers) (3.7%)
While Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s scorpion sauce of the day consists of:
Cider Vinegar, Sugar, Scorpion Chilli, Red Peppers, Salt.
And their milder sweet chilli is made from:
Sugar, Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Hungarian Hot Wax Chillies (1%), Ginger.
Go give one of them a go if you like your sauces sweet.
And no, I didn’t forget “The Reaper”’s packaging. I just had nothing to say about it, for once, and no space to say it in.