It's MAMMOTH! It's huge! It's the next great hot sauce from the mad geniuses at CaJohns Fiery Foods.
Actually, Sauce 10 has been in existence for a short time already with a plain label. We've resisted the temptation to say something about it because we were waiting for the appearance of the new version with the Naga Jolokia pepper in it. Since the Jolokia (Naga, Bhut, whatever you choose to use as its first name) is the newest member of the elite super-hot peppers, it is only fitting that CaJohn be one of the first to incorporate it into a sauce. The part you should be asking is: why put it in a sauce that already had fataliis, red savina habs, and orange habs already? If you believe the SHU numbers being posted by the people testing the Jolokia, then this sauce ought to be one step shy of molten lava.
The bottle I received was label-less, so you can see the future print for it above. Through the glass bottle, the sauce looks no different from the outside than any other habanero sauce, but inside lay the path to tastebud burnout and ruin. Onward ho!
If you can't read the ingredients list from the bottle label, here they are in regular print format:
Ingredients: Fatalii chiles, Red Savina habaneros, Orange habaneros, Onions, Distilled Vinegar, Mustard (vinegar, water, #1 Grade mustard seed, salt, turmeric, paprika, spices), Garlic, Naga Jolokia Powder, Black Pepper, Chile Caribe, Cayenne, A select blend of dehydrated vegetable powders
What a murderer's row of peppers! The lineup of the 1929 New York Yankees could scarcely match the strength of this sauce….at least not in regards to its heat potential.
First impression: With eager anticipation, I poured out a generous dollop to finally get an up-close examination of this sauce. It looks like this:
Honestly, it's a really well-blended sauce, which you can tell by its smooth consistency. At first I thought the sauce needed a lot more vinegar because it was way too thick. After doling out a few samples to different dishes, I retracted that opinion a little. It may need just a little more vinegar to make the perfect fluidity, but it's pretty darn close to perfect as-is. The aroma is simply muy macho. There's definitely a distinct fatalii smell to it, but with an extra added something that just screams heat.
Taste: Besides doing my usual tasting thang, I took a suggestion from CaJohn himself about this sauce. His notion was that this sauce was noticeably hotter than his Talon sauce. Talon is on my to-do list for reviewing, but suffice to say it is a red savina/fatalii sauce with no shortage of heat. In this case, I set up a side-by-side tasting experiment to see how these compared straight from the bottle. Divvying my sauces up, I poured out my experimental dollops and went to work. You can see the testing field below:
On the left is the Sauce 10 and on the right is the Talon. I tasted each one straight from a small spoon, and then did the same thing with a tortilla chip. The results were quite enlightening. Quite simply, the Sauce 10 is a 10/10 for heat. I've not given a 10 to any non-extract sauce, but this one earns it in spades. Its heat profile is unusual in that it builds after only one bite and gets hotter without having to actually eat any more. It's just plain potent, but with a great peppery taste you can appreciate before the heat truly sets in. I didn't appreciate any of the individual taste elements of the sauce, such as the onions, mustard, or spices, but the chile taste makes up for that. If you are daring enough to keep eating the Sauce 10, then the cumulative heat is even more impressive. I was sucking wind after a surprisingly small amount. Trying the Talon afterwards just wasn't fair…to the Talon sauce. I'd tried it before and thought it was quite hot, but this one almost had a ketchup-like sweetness to me when tasted side-by-side. The Talon ain't ketchup, folks, but the Sauce 10's heat is just on another plane of existence compared to most other uber-hot sauces.
Despite my admonition about the extreme heat, I thought that the Sauce 10 was fairly user-friendly. When you didn't go overboard and pour it like ketchup, you can actually use just enough to add heat & flavor to any dish where you would use a habanero sauce. This combination of Jolokia and habanero is the only one I've had in recent memory that's been in a fatalii sauce that actually detracts from the pungency (in heat and taste) of the fatalii itself…and that's a good thing. Pouring it directly on food is not for the weak of heart (or palate), and I couldn't take too much over any dish that didn't cause me to pant a little after eating it. To me, it's a great addition to mix into food. Because the taste is so good, it is a great flavor addition to many dishes…and gives the capsaicin heat that so many of us crave. In my usual soups/stews and chili, this sauce was awesome. I even suckered…I mean suggested…one of my co-workers to try it in his chicken a la king today, with surprisingly good reviews afterwards. I liked it with a couple of different egg/breakfast combinations, and was a good mix with many different sauces (marinara, alfredo, BBQ, etc) to make them hot enough for me. Looking at the bottle now, I'm surprised at how much I've used in such a short period of time. If that's not a glowing endorsement, I don't know what is.
Overall recommendation: Heat-lovers, your time has come. Sauce 10 may be one of the hottest non-extract sauces ever made, but the heat is happily not at the expense of flavor. If you don't like (or won't eat) extract sauces, let this Jolokia-enhanced gem take your tastebuds for a capsaicin-laced thrashing. This sauce really let me explore a little of my culinary masochistic tendencies, and I still have much more of it left to eat! Amazingly versatile for its heat, this sauce lends itself to more uses than even I could come up with in my short evaluation time with it. The fun is seeing how much you can take/put on your food before you start to sweat profusely. I wasn't sure I would like this sauce this much, but it's nice to have a super-hot sauce whose taste rivals its heat. A sweat-laden thumbs up for Sauce 10!