So, between Chilli of the Valley and A Bit of a Pickle, we’ve been seeing a lot of products from wales lately. That hasn’t been an intended theme but, at the same time, it’s not going to change today.
Why? Because I want to follow up last week’s sweet marmalades with something extra savoury and it just so happens to come from Jock’s Hot Sauce, across the border.
This is their only product – Their smoked habanero and garlic – and it doesn’t look like anything special but that four word description was enough to sell me on it. As well as countless others, I’m sure, since they’ve been going strong for at least half a decade.
Smoke, richness and a habanero heat sounds like a fantastic combination. So let’s see if their sauce can deliver!
Skipping straight to my spoon, this time, the orange colouration of Jock’s sauce is more easily apparent, outside of the bottle, hinting at the delicious, fruity peppers within.
It no longer comes across as purely brown. Yet there are still hints of its smoke in the darkened shades of the pulp-filled condiment and I’m getting far more on the nose.
There are soft, tangy undertones of indistinct orange fruit to today’s feature but the majority of its aroma, by far, is smoke. Sharp, woody smoke, enriched by a high garlic content, reminding me of hickory and bonfires. As well as oakier notes from its heavy use of cider vinegar.
That smell is amazing and I really could just sit here, sniffing away at it, all day. But that’s not what this sauce is for, now is it?
So I lift it to my mouth and have one last blissful inhale, before sliding the spoon’s contents off onto my tongue.
At first, there’s not much to say, as it coats my tastebuds smoothly and gently, without imparting much flavour. But then a switch flips and in comes the tang – Strong and sharp, yet naturally tinged with apple, carrot and habanero, for a warming, lightly-fruity taste that soon gives way to the actual warmth of the peppers.
Peppers that provide a stinging
which lingers all around the tip of my tongue.
I have had hotter from habaneros but Jock’s sauce certainly doesn’t disappoint in its burn. And the layer of smoke, which sits atop that tangy, body makes its flavour just as satisfying.
For me, I would like just a tiny bit more sugar in there, to balance out how dry that smoke is, but I have more of a sweet tooth than many, so I’m sure that that won’t bother most of you. And it’ll go amazingly into something like a bolognese or a root vegetable stew, where the dish, itself, has a slight sweetness and either a similarly orange base or some meat to make the most of those powerfully smoky overtones.
Though, of course, you could also work it into a con carne pretty easily, add it directly to your roast dinner or really amp up some bean burritos with it, if you’d prefer. And those are all just off the top of my head.
Jock’s is a fantastic sauce that I know that I’ll’ve devoured in no time and I’m sure that you’ll find it just as appetising, so long as you don’t mind it being somewhat vinegar-forward.
Here’s the full list of ingredients:
Cider Vinegar, Carrots, Smoked Habanero Chillies (14%), Smoked Garlic (6%), Onions, Olive Oil, Lime Juice, Sugar, Anglesey Sea Salt PDO.
And, while I’m looking at the label again, I spy something interesting – It isn’t white.
It looks it, at first glance, but the textured paper of Jock’s label is ever so slightly off. Slightly yellowed. Slightly smoke-stained.
It isn’t much but it tells us more about the product than I’d first realised. It tells us that it’s packaged in the same environment where they smoke their garlic and chillies. It tells us that Jock’s smoke all of their ingredients themselves.
Though you could also get that information from their website, of course.
I don’t know if I’ve had any other smoked habanero sauces. Few companies are prepared to put in the work for them, when chipotle is readily available, but you can still check out what else I’ve had with the orange hab on its encyclopedia page.
And I strongly recommend checking out today’s product, too.