Welcome back, everyone. It’s review time again and, so far, I feel like we’ve seen a lot of fruit-based products this year.
Well, today’s sauce does promise peach and blueberry undertones but those are far from its main focus. As you can tell from its bottle:
This is Thunder Juice. A brown chilli product from the makers of Rogue – My personal favourite from the Hot Ones line-up.
It’s High River Sauces’ tequila-infused sauce but its true selling point is that mind-blowing, eye-widening, skull-scorching nuclear mushroom cloud of heat that we see in its art. A truly extreme visual representation that the product may actually live up to, considering its primary pepper.
Because, while it does look to contain a fair amount of the current world record holder, this isn’t a reaper sauce. It’s a chocolate bhutlah one – Which might just make it even hotter.
And, even if it doesn’t, the bhutlah also brings a blend of rich, earthy and cocoa-like flavours that I absolutely adore. I have no idea how it’ll pair with peach, blueberries and tequila but I look forward to finding out, while I put the firepower of this potential future record to the test.
So, as you may be aware, I have some experience with this pepper. I’ve used it as powder to richen up curries and con carnes. I’ve had it 🔥📽️ in Death Nut form 📽️🔥, where it blew the rest of the box out of the water. And I’ve had it in sauce form before, too.
You see, this isn’t the first Bhutlah blend to hit the UK. It’s the second.
Some time ago, Smokin’ Ed’s own Chocolate Plague was brought over by Hot-Headz – The same people importing today’s product – and I considered talking about the pepper then. Yet I didn’t do it because that sauce was bland and uninteresting. Roughly the same heat and flavour you could get from chocolate habaneros and none of the lime that made the Screaming Chimp’s chocolate hab sauce special.
Today’s, well, today’s does a lot more and is all but guaranteed to be super hot, given that it also includes Ed’s reapers. I’m hoping that it can go beyond but, even if it doesn’t, it’s going to be far more exciting than its predecessor.
So here goes:
Outside of the bottle, Thunder Juice is a very interesting colour – A far pinker shade of brown than it had previously appeared – and it appears to consist of both a finely chunked pulp and a thin, liquid component. Its aroma carries a faint sweetness and an even fainter tang but both are very much overshadowed by the lightly perfumed smell of carolina reapers and earthy brown peppers.
I give it a taste and, to my surprise, it’s quite light on the tongue. At least at first.
The experience starts with tequila and lemon, picking up a little more tang from the cider vinegar as it goes. Then you taste the reapers – Soft and red – supported by the peach as the darker flavour of the chocolate bhutlah adds an almost toasted edge.
Then the sourness kicks in. That vicious, reaper sourness that not everyone seems to taste. And it grows and grows, with just a little help from the spirit, rising ever higher until it hits the back of my throat and bursts into flame.
An intense glow as I breath in, a fierce burn across the the roof of my mouth and a violent sting on the left hand side of my tongue.
This is a sauce that hates you, dear readers. One that uses five different peppers to hurt you in as many ways as possible, with a fair bit of ginger thrown in for good measure.
Together, their intensity peaks at a whopping
roughly on par with what I felt from the latest batch of Critical Mass. But, despite topping my scale and hitting me with so many different peppers, the Thunder Juice seems to leave the front of my mouth almost untouched.
It’s only minutes later that I notice a mild tingling in my lips and the tip of my tongue, the strength of which is nothing compared to what the product has already put me through. This sauce may match the force of Burning Desire’s but the way in which it hits is as different as its flavour.
Critical Mass was a full-mouth burn and a fruit-forward flavour, with touches of red chilli. Whereas Thunder Juice is a sharp, back of the mouth blaze that’s fruit plays only a small supporting role in what is otherwise a blend of soft and dark chilli flavours from the reapers and Bhutlahs. The blueberries becoming more noticeable than the peaches when it’s used over food to temper the otherwise overpowering heat.
Yet, even then, they only serve to round out the dark chilli taste of the chocolate bhutlah with a small hint of dark fruit at the end. They never take to the spotlight or become a significant flavour in their own right.
And nor do any of the other peppers. The brightness of the fatalii does make itself known, on occasion, but it’s as subtle as the initial taste of lemon. Only just enough to know that they’re not the green peppers from the label.
In fact, none of the peppers in here are green. It’s a purely artistic choice – Perhaps meant to represent the sauce’s green spirit – that looks good but actively misleads the viewer.
Here’s what actually goes into the sauce:
Apple Cider Vinegar, Chocolate Bhutlah Pepper Mash (Chocolate Bhutlah Pepper, and Vinegar), Carolina Reaper Pepper Mash (Carolina Reaper Peppers, and Vinegar), Fatalii Pepper Mash (Fatalii Peppers, and Vinegar), Peaches (Peaches, Water, Natural Flavor, Sugar), Blueberries, Raspberries, Brown Sugar (Cane Sugar and Molasses), Ginger Root, Scorpion Pepper Powder, Habanero Infused Tequila (40% ABV), Lemon Juice, Garlic.
And here’s that same list again, with the brackets and a few unnecessary words removed, in order to make it a little more comprehensible:
Cider Vinegar, Chocolate Bhutlah Mash, Carolina Reaper Mash, Fatalii Mash, Peaches, Blueberries, Raspberries, Brown Sugar, Ginger, Scorpion Powder, Habanero Infused Tequila, Lemon Juice, Garlic.
It’s a good set of ingredients but I have to wonder if this sauce really needed so many. I definitely don’t taste them all.
Though I do, for the most part, like what I taste. My only issue with this sauce is that strong reaper sourness and food tames it a lot.
The Thunder Juice provides a great way to add intense heat and a touch of darkness to all sorts of curries and tomato-based dishes, while also working well over meats, like beef, that carry just a tiny bit of sweetness. Making it especially good on burgers, for those of you who like it super hot.
As with the Critical Mass, this sauce isn’t going to be for everybody – It’s FAR too hot for that. For the seekers of serious natural spice, though, you now have two options for the hottest of the hot. Each of which brings something unique to the table, as well.
And, if you’d like to see what else I’ve tried with the chocolate bhutlah in, why not check out its page in my pepper encyclopedia?