A Floral Focus

Hey folks, it’s the week after my birthday so it’s time to cool things down a tad. And, while I’m not expecting this week’s sauce to be mild, exactly, I’m definitely hoping for a focus on flavour. Because this one sounds weird, even to me!

This is “Where The Wild Roses Grow”, from Balefire, and its label looks just like their previous product. Yet the sauce inside glows a peachy shade of orange and really shows off the blend of rose water and red habanero within. A pairing which I’ve never even heard of, outside of my own gulab jamun recipe.

“Wild” is right for this crazy take on a sweet chilli but, as I discovered when I was researching for that recipe, there’s science to support today’s flavour combination. So the question is less about the concept and more about Balefire’s execution.

Can the company pull off this one of a kind creation successfully?

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10 Minute Birthday

Alright everyone, it’s wednesday and I’ve just had one of the most disappointing reviews of my career but, today, it’s time for a different sort of suffering. Because it’s my birthday and that means extract sauce:

This is Ten Minute Burn. The original extract sauce from The Chilli Pepper Company, making waves long before their Hell Unleashed made headlines. So I’m not expecting quite the same level of stomach churning heat but I’m still going to be very careful with this one.

It has a reputation to it and I know full well what the company are capable of. So I won’t be underestimating it, despite my eagerness to see how everything began.

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Three from the Lab

What’s up everybody? We’ve played it safe these last couple of weeks but, today, I think it’s time that we branched out to someone new, once again. A company so fresh that they don’t even seem to have a website yet. But they still feature prominently in my local hot sauce shop.

Meet Heat Lab. A small, york-based business with three different flavours and a science-themed aesthetic that’s very much after my own heart.

The wrinkled heat shrink around their bottle necks may show their lack of experience but it says nothing about the quality within. And honestly, I have high hopes for this trio.

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Sweet Chilli Beast

Happy tuesday again, everyone!

This week, I’m looking at another old friend of ours, The Chilli Pepper Company, for what is supposedly a “sweet chilli sauce for psychos”. Though, to me, it looks a lot darker and more barbecue-like:

Hence my decision to feature The Beast now – Right after The Wicked Chilli’s sadly lacklustre naga barbecue – in the hopes that a company who’ve proven themselves in the past can do a better job.

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Balefire Curry

Hey folks, how’s it going?

For me, life’s been pretty good lately. But, sadly, the same cannot be said for our last few sauces. Since, as much as I liked the taste of rocoto in The Wicked Chilli’s Roco Loco, it still didn’t express the pepper’s unique heat as well as I’d hoped. And the other two that I tried these last couple of weeks were similarly disappointing.

So, this time around, I think I’m going to play it safe with a company who’ve already really impressed me once before: Balefire.

We saw their Get Schwifty a while back and, aside from the name, I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of that sauce. So, today, I’m going to take a look at two more in the hopes that their Tortuga and Critical Masala are just as stunning.

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Something Wicked

Happy tuesday again, everyone. This week, I’ve got something wicked to show you, from down in somerset.

The “Thirsty Dog” barbecue and sweet pepper “Roco Loco” sauces, from The Wicked Chilli. One using an unusual blend of jalapeño and naga chillies to heat up its cola and smoked paprika base. While the other mixes rare rocoto chillies with a more standard, unnamed variety and some red bells, for a purer pepper flavour.

For once, though, it’s not the flavour of those rare chillies that excites me but the unique feel of the rocoto’s heat. The unique gum tingle which made me love Char Man’s Caribbean sauce and which is integral to a few specific peruvian dishes.

I’m a huge fan of that pepper and I’m really hoping that its prominent position on the label of today’s red chilli sauce means that The Wicked Chilli are using it to the fullest. Yet I’m also very curious what the unsmoked jalapeño and naga bring to the flavour of their barbecue sauce.

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Majestic Cocoa

Hey folks, remember how I just randomly mentioned Queen Majesty again, last week? For the first time in ages?

Well, believe it or not, it was entirely coincidental and today’s feature was an extremely last minute find. But I do have another of their sauces to show you and this one, in particular, is one that I’ve been waiting a long time for. Ever since the reveal of Hot Ones‘ season seventeen line-up.

The number six of that era, Queen Majesty’s Cocoa Ghost. Which stood out, to me, from the moment I first saw it, as something truly unique.

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Dalston Double

Hello again, everyone. Today, we’re looking at a sauce that’s been gaining a lot of traction, lately, but that I still hadn’t heard hide nor hair about until it arrived on my doorstep. A gift from my aunt, in london, to whom this week’s product is quite local.

This is Common Sanity’s Dalston Sunshine – The name of the sauce telling you exactly what borough its company are based in and their own hinting at an interest in mental health. With a portion of the company’s profits going to charity for that very reason.

Yet the common “Common Sanity” name, as a whole, is apparently a play on commensality, the act of communal eating. Not anything to do with the word “Common”. Which is just as well because, as much as it may look like a common caribbean mustard sauce, their Dalston Sunshine’s main ingredient is actually the fatalii chilli. An african relative of the habanero which, despite growing popularity in recent years, is still far from “common”.

And it’s not today’s only unexpected fusion flavour, either, since my little care package also contained a second item from the company:

Not a sauce, this time, but a chinese or filipino-style crispy oil. Filled with mexican chillies, seeds and nuts for a beautifully rich sounding, yet equally unorthodox blend that they call Fuego Greeze.

I’m very eager to try them both out.

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CBDBQ

Hey folks, last week we saw a fantastic szechuan-style sauce, marred by a name that paid homage to a particularly crass joke. So, today, we’re going to keep things rather classier, with what is easily the most fancily packaged product that I’ve ever featured:

This stylish little chipotle sauce was sent to me by Chilli No. 5, who’ve clearly drawn inspiration from big name perfume brands for their presentation. Yet they still manage to allude to high-end cuisine with the sauce smear at the base of their metallic green logo.

The colour of which also hints at what sets this particular product apart from the rest of their range: Its CBD content.

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The Szechuan Sauce

Alright everyone, it’s time to get schwifty, so pull down your pants and-

Okay, no. I’m not finishing that reference. Rick and Morty really isn’t the highbrow, adult comedy that its fans would like you to think and that level of toilet humour is just gross. Even for a chilli reviewer, like myself, who inevitably has to hear a tonne of it.

But, the show’s supposed intelligence aside, there is something else that it’s known for. Which is the absolute ridiculousness of the szechuan sauce debacle, caused by the start of its third season. The raids on McDonald’s stores, across the US, all in search of a long-discontinued tie-in to the original Mulan film.

Frankly, I’ve no idea why people cared so much about a simple szechuan sauce – Especially one with such an uninspired list of ingredients – but that absurd uproar did have some interesting knock-on effects. Including inspiring a whole host of more authentic chinese flavours in the american hot sauce market. As well as a few further afield and even one or two here, in the UK.

Today, I want to look at one example, in particular, which comes to us from Balefire, in durham:

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