The Second Spirit

Hey folks, don’t stop me if you’ve heard this one ’cause, today, we’re looking at Chilli of the Valley’s Calypso.


Now it’s been over a year since we first saw this sauce and a lot has changed in that time. It looks far more enticing in its swanky new, pirate-themed bottle but, more importantly, its makers have informed me that they’ve changed the vinegar to a far more fruit-friendly, white wine variety.

So, since the overpowering nature of spirit vinegar was my only issue with its previous incarnation and I do so like to preach the benefits of picking the right acid for your sauce, I think it’s only fair that I reward the company for taking my feedback on board by giving it a second shot.

Yes, folks, this is a thursday special to re-review Chilli of the Valley’s product. Partially to ensure that the info on my site is up to date and partially because it’s an interesting, real world example of just how much difference vinegar type can make.

It would be unfair of me to let it take the normal tuesday spot away from something newer but I do feel like it deserves this metaphorical air-time, nonetheless.

Here goes!


Despite the whole new appearance of its packaging, the look of today’s sauce on my spoon is anything but unfamiliar.

It’s silky, shiny and the colour of clotted cream, just like before, and it’s kept its old consistency, too – Free-flowing enough to pour quickly, yet viscous enough to cling to the bottle neck and appear rather thicker than it really is. The only differences that I can see are that the chilli shreds are smaller and that it doesn’t hold its bubbles quite as well after shaking.

But how has the flavour changed?

Honestly, quite little. It’s still just as creamy and smooth as it appears, still full of coconut-tinged pineapple flavour and it still carries the same old, slightly oaky, yellow pepper hints from its golden cayennes. As well as their unusually fierce



But the finer blend lessens the crunch of those chillies considerably and makes their flavour just a little less obvious. Whilst the sharpness of their tongue and throat burn stands out more than ever, because everything else is so smooth.

The vinegar change has worked!

There’s still a strong twang to the sauce, from its acidic fruit and powerful white rum, but it’s not nearly as aggressively vinegar-forward as the batch that I tried last time. Which, in my opinion, is a huge improvement.

It’s still not quite to my own tastes, as is, but I can see a use for it, this time.

Much as I don’t really care for it from the spoon, it’s remarkably good splashed straight onto chicken or white fish and I bet you it would work its way into a creamy curry or white sauce just as amazingly. All applications which I tried before and couldn’t get into.

This time around, Chilli of the Valley’s Calypso is as smooth and delightful as it was always meant to be. A unique sauce that I can, most certainly, recommend.

Here’s its new set of ingredients, though very little has actually had to change to make it taste so much better:

Capsicum (Yellow Pepper, Chillies), White Wine Vinegar, Pineapple, Rum, Water, Coconut Milk Powder, Brown Sugar, Salt

On the outside, however, their new artist has done a real number on the label design. We’ve gone from plain text to a cut-throat female pirate, with red and orange hair to contrast her green jacket and provide an inverted version of the backgrounds sunset tones. The name of the sauce adorning her flag, in blue and yellow, down below.

Except, that isn’t just her hair and it isn’t just a sea-green sunset. The background is, in fact, a gradient version of the caribbean flag and her fiery hair is made up of long, red cayennes, all just slightly under-ripe at their tips. Both details that are easy to miss, at first glance, but clue us in on the sauce’s cultural inspiration and peppers, if we pay enough attention.

A lot harder to miss, though, is the fact that the label’s star is undead, bleeding blue, de-oxygenated blood into a bottle of “XXX” drink – Clearly for adults only and, given her pirate nature, most certainly a representation of the sauce’s own rum.

Nothing quite mentions the sauce’s other two ingredients, sadly, but it’s not hard to make a guess. I mean, what else is creamy, pairs with rum and comes from a tropical island?

So, if you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, it’s now the sauce that you’ve looked for. Why not try it again?

And if those golden cayennes have tickled your fancy, you can find my encyclopedia page for them here. Though remarkably few products are made with those peppers.

4 thoughts on “The Second Spirit

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