Happy tuesday again, everyone! Today, I’d like to welcome back to the stage The Bonnie Sauce Co., who previously wowed me with an excellent and unexpectedly herby Smoky Chipotle sauce.
This week, they return with something (or things) a little bit hotter. Two more products which, just like in last week’s review, highlight the difference between scotch bonnets and habaneros.
But, as you can see from the photos above, these are not the same yellow pepper sauces and their use of red chilli changes the equation quite considerably. Let’s give them a go and find out how, shall we?
Before we do, though, I do want to take a quick moment to address their web images again. Because neither of these sauces appear red in the company’s online store.
The intense red of their Fiery Scotch Bonnet sauce has been rendered a dull, orangey brown by their photography and the Mango and Habanero has come off even worse. A grey-green tinged yellow which I find practically stomach turning.
These are appalling images and their lack of quality is even more apparent here than it was in my last review. But it’s not like I did anything special for mine. All I did was point a decade old DSLR camera at the sauces with decent background lighting. And their own beauty did the rest.
Hell, I didn’t even colour correct them in post.
Simply put, The Bonnie Sauce Co.’s products look amazing, in person. Their largely transparent labelling allows them to catch the light and really show off the vibrancy of the sauces inside, while their day of the dead inspired skull logos further distinguish each one. The Mango and Habanero placing its pepper of choice within the cheeks and hinting at its tropical fruit with flowers and a forehead heart. Whereas the Fiery Scotch Bonnet gives that central forehead real estate to its own namesake chilli and emphasises its greater focus on heat with flaming cheeks and eyes.
Despite the anger of the Mango and Habanero, it’s easy to tell which one’s meant to hurt the most. But now I think it’s time that I tried them for myself, before making any further judgements. So let’s load up the spoons and get to it:
On the left, we have a thick and chunky texture, from the Fiery Scotch Bonnet, with a tangy and highly peppery aroma. While my right spoon holds the thinner, yet sticker, Mango and Habanero. Which has remarkably little scent, considering how powerful its flavour is.
Looking at my two spoonfuls, I’m sure that you can make out the good-sized, red chilli shreds in both but the mango also hides larger, whiter chunks, beneath its surface. Huge shards of pure, untamed garlic which spread their rich, savoury, rooty and slightly earthy taste throughout the entire thing. And they are intense!
The Bonnie Sauce Co.’s Mango and Habanero may be fruity but the first that hits my tongue is very much that of pickled garlic. With all of the characteristic vinegar tang balanced out by sugar, giving the product its sticky texture and an almost chutney-like taste. As well as slowing down its
habanero heat, so that it comes in slowly and prickles the throat first, before finally making itself known in my mouth a good minute or so after I’ve eaten.
Sadly, that chilli’s bold, red, fruity flavour finds itself lost beneath the sheer intensity of the mango and garlic, failing to provide the beautiful contrast which we saw in Upton Cheyney’s sauce, but there’s still more than enough going on without it. And this mango sauce works wonders with a curry or splashed liberally over my spiced kedgeree.
So, while it’s miles away from the bright dessert sauce that I’d been hoping for, I’m extremely happy with what I’ve bought here.
Its Fiery Scotch Bonnet counterpart, however, goes far heavier on the peppers and it shows. Both in the heat and in its taste.
It’s well textured and tangy but its vinegar only replaces the acid missing from its rich, cooked down tomatoes. The savoury nature of which is further amplified by the sauce’s slow cooked red peppers and a touch of garlic that’s far more sparing than the last.
The scotch bonnet brings that fragrant and peppery, chinense chilli funk but it’s more gentle in the mouth than it was on the nose and, while I definitely taste fermented chilli, that’s actually a habanero mash that was added for extra oomph. No, the scotch bonnet, itself, is surprisingly subtle in this product but it brings the perfect hint of savoury red pepper fruitiness that it’s known for and really rounds out the rich flavour of the tomatoes and bells.
In terms of the burn, this sauce is a low
dull fire that lingers in the back of my throat and stings a little, under the tongue. Surprisingly long lasting but otherwise not too noteworthy.
Yet, in terms of taste, it’s delightfully rich, red and pepper-forward. Perhaps not anything truly unique but a delicious take on a classic red chilli product, great for general use but perfect for burgers. Be they beef or bean.
And, now that I’ve tried their entire range, I can definitively say that the only thing I don’t like about The Bonnie Sauce Co. is their photography. Everything else has impressed me greatly.
So, if you’re reading this, sauce makers, please, please update your site images. Your work deserves far better.
And, to everyone else, please do yourself a favour and overlook the company’s bad photos. Because their bold flavours really do deserve to be tasted.
Today’s two contained:
Mango (33%), Sugar, Pineapple Juice, Habanero (4%), Garlic Powder, Ginger Powder, Cayenne Pepper Powder, Salt.
For the Mango and Habanero.
Tomato, Red Peppers, Water, Onion, Scotch Bonnet (8.5%), Spirit Vinegar, Habanero Mash (5%), Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citrus Fibre, Salt.
For the Fiery Scotch Bonnet.