Alright everybody, it’s my last post of twenty twenty-one and we’re now in that weird nothing period between the big winter holidays. So I feel like I’m fighting the inevitable here but I still want to at least try to make this post memorable and end the year on a high point.
To that end, I’ve gathered together three of the potentially hottest natural sauces on the planet:
Chilli Bob‘s Dragon‘s Breath Chilli Sauce, crafted from a similarly named pepper that we’ve already established surpassed that current record holder. Yet haven’t seen in anything pure enough to shift the upper limits of my scale just yet.
And Badger’s Chilli Kitchen’s Armageddon The End, with a whopping eighty percent armageddon chilli, making it the most chilli-centric sauce of the lot.
Any one of these three could be the new top of nature but which, if any, actually will?
It’s time to find out!
First up, I’m going to be looking at the Dragon’s Breath because it’s the one that I have most point of reference for. One which, in fact, uses the exact same recipe as Chilli Bob‘s Chimera Chilli Sauce, only with a different pepper.
Here are its three ingredients:
Spirit Vinegar, Dragons Breath Chillies, Xantham Gum
And that really is it. Yet you can see the difference between the two, all the same.
This dragon’s breath sauce is a little darker and pinker than its chimera counterpart, though still very much a peachy-orange colour, compared to the other items on display today. And, while it still uses the same pink label, the mythologically accurate chimeras either side of the logo have been replaced by vicious-looking, early Disney-esque dragons. Neither quite breathing out the sauce’s namesake fire but both with their mouths wide open and serpentine tongues flickering out over the Chilli Bobs name, all the same.
We see a similar change in the chilli photo, down below, as well. Yet this one strikes me rather more subtly, given that it’s now a fully red pepper on a hot pink background and there isn’t any outline to distinguish the two.
So yes, I do think that the labelling could use a little work but I also really appreciate the little touches that have gone into it already and it certainly still stands out from all of the other producers that I’ve seen.
Plus, that reddish peach colour sure does look striking on my spoon:
With a texture that’s thin but not excessively so and far from as gelatinous as those that overuse their xanthan gum thickener. It’s just nice and smooth, with only the tiniest of visible shreds, which I can’t even feel.
As I raise it to my mouth, though, the chilli becomes a lot more obvious. Its aromatic, earthy tones all but overpowering the sharp scent of the vinegar, yet allowing subtle hints of the deeper, redder and oh so slightly fruity body of the pepper to sneak on through.
The first flavour is still the tang but the red chilli is there, too, and that deep, earthy, savoury side really takes hold, shortly before a powerful sting around the front of my mouth and under my tongue makes it hard to focus on anything else. The fruitiness almost completely lost along the way.
In terms of taste, it’s far from what I was expecting but I can’t say that I’m upset.
As much as I liked the mellower, fruitier flavour of the company’s Chimera Chilli Sauce, its intense burn makes sure that I won’t run out of it any time soon. So, rather than just having an insanely hot and an even hotter version of the same product, it’s nice that the pair do actually come across as different sauces. Perhaps even with different uses, though I’ll certainly still be throwing this one into my scrambled eggs.
Yet, in heat terms, it very much fills the same role and it’s only by having them side by side that I can tell how much hotter the Dragon’s Breath actually is. A whopping
burn that’s become a dull, throbbing pain in the back of my throat, now, but definitely doesn’t seem like it’s going away any time soon.
A strong showing for our first item of the day but, as I mentioned when I first tried the Dragon’s Breath, I still think that hotter should be possible. So, let’s see if Daddy Cool‘s Final Destination can push things even further, shall we?
Or rather, let’s have a look at his beautiful labelling while I wait for my throat to cool down and my stomach to settle. Because I’m definitely not ready for another heavy hitter, like that, right away.
Now, when I first got this Final Destination sauce, I was sure that I was going to make a Super Smash Bros. video with it. But, looking at the bottle, it seems obvious that it wasn’t the old “no items, Fox only” meme that inspired Daddy Cool’s sauce. Not when it so clearly alludes to the classic horror movie franchise which shares its name.
Because yes, the bottle bears his usual logo of the company name, in white brushstroke font, enclosed in an almost-circle by two large, red cayennes. Yet, for this particular label, the logo is transparent, with shards of glass just visible through what would normally be a solid black background and flying out from there. Very much looking like the shrapnel of some unseen explosion.
And what might be the cause of that explosion? Well it could be the lightning that lights the dark night sky. Or that could just be a sign of imminent death. Either way, the two are both common imagery throughout the entire first Final Destination film and I’d be willing to bet that they return for the rest of the franchise. Couple them with a few decorative blood splatters and maybe a chilli or two in the same shade of red and you have yourself a finely crafted horror movie label. Though the glow on the white words of the name really helps it pop, as well.
It’s ever so striking and I honestly think that it’s some of Mr. Cooley’s best design work. But what does it tell us about the sauce inside?
Well, aside from evoking the inevitability of death, showcased by the sick and twisted Rube Goldberg contraptions of the film franchise, I see only two things. Sharpness and superhots.
Real, red superhots, presumably based on the ghost peppers within, which imply a little more care and craftsmanship than an ultra hot extract sauce. Yet the ghost pepper is actually one of the mildest chillies in here. Second only to the habanero.
The full ingredients list consists of:
Malt Vinegar from BARLEY (contains: GLUTEN), Mixed Superhot Chillies (50%) (Brainstrain (10%), Ghost (10%), Gibbering Idiot (8%), Carolina Reaper (8%), Hurtberry (8%), Habanero (6%)), Sweet Potato, British Carrot Juice (99%) Concentrated Lemon Juice, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Tomatoes, Onion, Cider (SULPHITES), Lime Juice, Garlic, Molasses, Sugar, Mixed Herbs & Spices, Tamarind.
And it’s immediately obvious that its sharp appearance will, indeed, match its taste. What with all of the vinegar and citrus in there. Yet nothing on the label could have prepared me for what I see when I pour my spoonful:
Aside from a tiny bit of separated out liquid, around the edges, this sauce is a thick and chunky paste. Not even close to the fifty percent vinegar thinness that its order of ingredients had led me expect.
But it definitely is sharp. Sour and seriously tangy, with a zesty citrus undertone that complements the floral elements of its deep, dark, cooked down chillies well. And, of course, a seriously sharp,
burn to match. Completely ravaging the tip of my tongue, as well as the upper back of my mouth and throat, as soon as it gets started.
The richness of tomato purée and the earthiness of the sweet potato do come through, at first, but the nuance is lost, for me, once again, the moment that that heat takes hold.
It’s a well-crafted sauce, this Final Destination, with a great set of ingredients and a frankly amazing amount of firepower, for something all natural. Hitting even harder than the last. Yet I feel like it may have been cooked down too far, with that dark, concentrated pepper flavour that it’s picked up, along the way.
I’m not really a fan of that side of the product, so I’m going to be relegating this one to cooking. Perhaps as a marinade for roasts, to let its gentle earthiness shine, or in con carne, where the cooked down chillies will blend in with my chocolate and pasillas.
So it is usable but I much preferred the Dragon’s Breath Chilli Sauce.
As for our third and final item, Armageddon The End, I have a lot less to say about the appearance of that little bottle.
I enjoy its gradiated action lines, fading from yellow, at the top of the label, to red, down below, and I enjoy how the colours have been reused in its bold-lined and cartoony, mushroom cloud art. The layout of its equally bold, white text fits only adds to the action, as well. But that’s it.
There’s nothing informative about the imagery and Badger’s Chilli Kitchen haven’t even put their logo on the front. So, if I didn’t do my research ahead of time, all I’d see is some edgily-named superhot sauce, hiding its producer. And, personally, I don’t think that that’s a good look.
Fortunately, though, I know the chilli world. I know the producer and their pepper supplier. And, most importantly of all, I know the chilli. Because, as I mentioned up top, “Armageddon” isn’t some edgy name that Badger’s have come up with but the name of one of the newest UK’s hottest. Said to be set to rival the reaper.
This sauce is said to be a whopping eighty percent armageddon, too, so, if it really does have a shot at the record, we’re going to find out today. Though the ingredients on the label only list:
Red Chilli, Vinegar, Lemon Juice (Sulphites), Onion, Sugar, Garlic, Salt, Black Peppercorn, Mustard Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Coriander Seeds.
Which is odd, since you’d think that they’d want to highlight the name and high concentration of such an extremely hot strain. Still, let’s try it out:
It’s a much lighter red than the previous product but only slightly thinner. And it comes out in small blobs, due to the width of the bottle’s neck.
Plus, while they aren’t particularly visible in my spoonful, the Armageddon sauce is full of whole and lightly chunked seeds. Most of which look and smell like fennel or coriander, not chilli. Spices which dominate the sauce’s aroma and remind me very much of my last Badger review, back in summer, when they were still called Badger’s Artisan Foods.
I thoroughly enjoyed what the seeds did for their xXx extract sauce and they taste just as great here. The fennel taking the forefront much more than the coriander, this time around, and really highlighting the sweetness of the onions and sugar. As well as offsetting the full-bodied, slightly floral, red chilli with its greener, more herbal tones.
Flavour-wise, this is easily my favourite of today’s three and, while it isn’t exactly fruity, I could see it working wonders alongside the tomato fruitiness of a good salsa. Or amping up an onion-forward curry, like a dōpiaza.
All the while adding a serious hit of armageddon chilli that’s unmistakeable in both its taste and the sharp yet tingly,
tongue-based heat. This time rather more gradual than in the League of Fire’s 📽️chug challenge📽️, making it a bit less of a shock to the system, despite the higher number.
And, while Daddy Cool‘s Final Destination may be today’s top dog, even the mildest of this trio is still a new level of natural hot. So you can still expect every single sauce in this review to floor you. And you can also expect to see a new number on the right of my ratings, starting in the new year.
Until then, enjoy what remains of the post-christmas lull.