East Coast Reason

Happy tuesday, everyone, and welcome to september proper. Today, we’ve got my first review of the month but it’s from some old friends, down on the east coast, who I really feel like I should have revisited sooner.

This is Reason. The East Coast Chilli Co. – Or ECCC, as I like to call them – ‘s supposed range topper. Their extra hot, naga-enhanced, habanero sauce.

Now, I love these guys. Their marketing man is super friendly, their sauces are delicious and their use of garlic, in particular, is masterful. But I’m a little sceptical on this particular product. Because, as much as I want to believe in the E triple C, I just don’t see how a five percent ghost pepper sauce is going to match or exceed the heat of their carolina reaper Midnight 21.

In fact, even at sixty percent, Dr. Burnorium’s most brutal naga sauce only achieved the same rating. And that was with unusually strong, roasted chillies.

So I’m not expecting anything super from today’s sauce, heat-wise, but I’ll be putting its claims to the test, anyway. And I sure am expecting some serious flavour, after the company’s others.

Label-wise, this one looks very similar to that old Midnight 21.

It has the same red and yellow company logo on the same black background, with the same red flames, licking at its sides. Only, this time, there’s much less yellow at their base and none of the five pitchforks that they use for heat rating are white.

All five are red, matching the product name, and the line below reads “extra hot” to match the company’s claims about this product. The great taste award still adorns the bottle’s neck, yet it’s also mirrored down below, printed either side of the pitchforks.

And, speaking of losing the white, this label’s also lost the little blurb that describes its ingredients. Perhaps because the briefer sub-heading of “Extra Hot Habanero and Naga Chilli Sauce” says everything that the company wanted to, already.

Indeed, I would criticise this packaging for doing nothing to visually represent what’s in the bottle but the reds and flames really do get its heat across. And that seems to be what they’re selling this one on. Rather than the flavour, like their other items.

The Reason’s appearance does exactly what it’s intended to. And yet that, perhaps, gives me even more trepidation than if it didn’t. So, rather than sit here and worry, endlessly, about its apparent lack lack of flavour focus, maybe I should just get on with giving it a go:

It’s thin. Very thin, despite its fine shreds of chilli and onion. And its tangy smell is only a small hint of the heavy vinegar content to come.

This is a louisiana-style sauce – Vinegar-based with a mix of red peppers. Only I’m not convinced that those peppers have been fermented.

Instead, the ECCC have used variety to try and add depth. Mixing in dried and toasted cascabels, alongside the chillies named on the front, for richer, earthier undertones. While the onions complement the vinegar’s sharpness.

It works… adequately. Makes a sauce that I’d use on baked beans, cheese-heavy dishes and greasy pub grub, like onion rings, but I probably wouldn’t want it elsewhere. Because, even for a louisianna-style product, it’s exceedingly vinegar-heavy.

Which helps amp up the heat of its five percent naga to match purer items, like hot-headz’

strength Satan’s Sweat, and gives it a very sudden tongue punch, yet still fails to get anywhere near the Midnight 21. And it doesn’t exactly help the flavour, either.

So, while I’d still suggest checking out its habaneros, nagas and cascabels, this is one sauce that you can safely skip out on. Disappointing in both heat and flavour.

It’s made from:

Distilled white vinegar, Onions, Habanero chillies (11%) Water, Naga chillies (5%) Garlic, Cascabel chillies, Herbs and spices, Mustard powder, Salt, Ground white pepper.

And I’m not saying that it’s bad, per se, but it definitely isn’t the same stand out quality that I’ve come to expect from the East Coast Chilli Co..

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