Hey folks, this one’s a little bit of a last minute review. Not because I didn’t have anything to show you – I’ve got plenty of products in reserve – but because I only just realised that my last two purchases from Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm might not be a great fit for the dry january that some celebrate. Not when they’re two of the booziest hot sauces that I’ve ever tasted.
So their return can be something for you all to look forward to, come next month, but, today, I’m focussing on another former feature: Doctor Burnörium’s Psycho Juice.
And, this time around, the good doc has graced us with something a little bit different. A beautiful-looking sauce that’s more bonnet than scotch and far from his usual, red shade.
The packaging on Doctor Burnörium’s Scotch Bonnet, on the other hand, is entirely what I’ve come to expect from him. The man’s own evil caricature, placed upon a largely monotone background, accented with golden banners and his own, custom “hallowed be thy pain” sticker, resting atop the heat shrink.
Yet, no matter how many times I see it, it’s still stunningly ornate. And the lighter sauce inside only further emphasises just how well the dark heat shrink and edges of the label pop. Making this the most visually impressive bottle of Psycho Juice yet.
I do, however, still have a couple of complaints about it. Because it may be the most impressive but it certainly isn’t the most informative.
The deep, indigo background of the label is a fantastic contrast to the vibrant, golden yellow of the sauce but it doesn’t say anything about the fruity, caribbean flavour which it promises. Unlike, say, the green of his Mustard Ghost or the toasty yellow of his Roasted Garlic. And, worse still, a large part of why it contrasts so well with the colour of the sauce is that it doesn’t do so with the black segments. Which makes the text practically unreadable in certain lighting, just like on last week’s Gooseberry Sauce.
So, as much as I appreciate the artistry, I don’t think that today’s label holds up as well from a practical standpoint. Though, with everything that we’ve seen from the good doctor already, it’s hardly surprising that he’s running low on fitting colours. And I do still love both its appearance and the look of the contents.
The smooth, relatively thin, yellow liquid which fills my spoon says far more about this product’s scotch bonnet content than its label ever could. And I’m pretty sure that it’s the fruit – Both passion and peach – which provide that invitingly warm and slightly orangey shade.
I get a hint of that fruit on the nose, too, in the form of a very subtle passion tang. Yet this isn’t a sweet sauce. It’s pepper forward and surprisingly salty.
The yellow scotch bonnet that Doctor Burnörium has used is a commercial variety, not the ministry of agriculture strain that I grow. So it lacks a lot of the chilli’s famous fruity side and tastes far more of a bold and possibly fermented, yellow pepper. Something shockingly similar to the golden habaneros in Brighton Hot Stuff‘s Lychee sauce.
And, of course, they aren’t exactly the same. BHS’ chillies had that signature habanero prickle, while the doctor’s are more of a dry, back of the mouth burn. But they still both hit the same
heat and today’s Scotch Bonnet Psycho Juice differentiates itself more with its salt content, vinegar and tropical fruit than with its pepper.
Whereas the Lychee was fragrant and sweet and the cider vinegar alongside it didn’t do a tonne to its flavour, the passion fruit adds a definite twinge of the tropics and the sweetness of the peaches is completely masked by the doc’s signature cane vinegar. Its almost garlicky, savoury molasses element working work with that salt to take today’s product in a quite different direction.
It’s not going to pair with mayo in quite the same way that brighton’s sauce did but that savoury yellow flavour is still going to go great over chicken. And I’m a huge fan of slopping it over the top of just about any slow cooked veggies.
For most fish dishes, that fragrant namesake fruit still makes the Lychee sauce my go to but this newcomer is shockingly good over tuna and a tasty topper to my tacos, too.
So both have their own uses, despite how similar their pepper-forward flavours may seem, and I can definitely recommend today’s Psycho Juice concoction. Even if it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for.
But, personally, I still find the most interesting thing about today’s review to be just how much it validates the importance of the MoA scotch bonnet strain. Because, despite being this Psycho Juice’s first ingredient, you could replace the regular yellow bonnet with an equivalent habanero and I’d barely notice. They’re just that similar.
Whereas the MoA strain was specifically bred by the jamaican ministry of agriculture to bring back the fruitier scotch bonnet flavours that aren’t present in golden habaneros. And the difference is night and day.
Here’s the full list of what this Psycho Juice contains, for reference:
37% Scotch Bonnet Chili Pepper, Water, Peach, Salt, Cane Vinegar, Passion Fruit, Sugar, Glucose, Thickener, Xanthan Gum, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid, Antioxidant: Ascorbic Acid, Onion
And I definitely don’t mean to demean it with all this talk of a more unique bonnet breed. Doctor Burnörium has still done an excellent job with the peppers that he has access to and I’m quite happy with his latest creation.
It’s just that I’ve heard so much about why the MoA exists but never truly experienced it for myself before. So this is a little bit of a revelation, for me.