We usually take great efforts to avoid duplicating reviews of sauces here on this blog, but sometimes certain products make us think that was a silly idea. This is one of those. While we don’t know ‘Bent’ personally (he lives in the Land Down Under), we’ve chatted with him through The Hot Pepper discussion board for quite some time. He was kind enough to brighten our day by shipping us some of his wonderful hot sauce creation for us to try for ourselves.
One thing we can say for sure is that this sauce is certainly one-of-a-kind, if for the ingredients alone:
Ingredients: chillies (habanero 23%, naga morich 15%, asian birdseye 15%, long green 7%, jalapeno 5%), pears, gari, vinegar, garlic, cinnamon, black olives, brandy essence, white pepper
Professional sauce makers, take note. Now this is a way to craft a hot sauce…all natural ingredients, a variety of excellent chiles, and a recipe that distinguishes it from most of the rest of the marketplace. I can’t say we’ve ever tried a hot sauce made with black olives or brandy essence, so this was going to be a treat whether we liked, loved it, or just tried it and put it back down in the back of cupboard.
First impression: Well, I have to say that I like the label. It’s just cool enough to appeal to the geek in me with its oversized brain and cartoonish graphics. It’s not quite professional caliber, but a far cry better than 99% of the labels that are made for homemade or amateur hot sauces. The aroma is nothing but capsaicin-dominated pepper goodness. A lot less of that ubiquitous vinegar smell that many sauces have, I detect a lot of habanero and a little of the pear fruitiness with a gentle whiff. This sauce is also thick. Way thick. So much so that I had to really throttle the bottle with a few shakes to dislodge a glob of it to taste. It might be a tad thick to me, but perfect for those who like a little more substance with their hot sauces.
Taste: At first, I thought it was simply a super-good habanero sauce. I definitely tasted the pear right away, then then enjoyed it as the habanero set my taste buds aflame with that characteristic heat. I really do get some of the other flavors (the gari, black olives, garlic), but not with every bite. The pepper blend makes for an interesting mouth feel. The overall mouth-searing heat and tropical flavor of the habanero, the sharp bite of the asian peppers, and some hints of jalapeno. It’s such a well-made sauce that I found myself almost enjoying it too much to really analyze the taste overly much.
That is, until the Naga Morich heat arrived. Wowzers, but that adds a whole new element to the sauce…and makes it worth every bit of the “Pain” name that this sauce bears. It took me quite a few bites to reach capsaicin critical mass with this sauce, but when I did it was impressive. About 9.7/10 for heat to be sure, and it seems to keep accumulating more heat with more consumption. After a meal with this in my chili con carne, I was sucking wind big time.
Speaking of uses, it’s still a pretty all-purpose hot sauce despite its high heat level. Used in moderation, even the novice chilehead could find good uses for this. I liked mixed into my foods, like soups and sauces, but I wasn’t afraid to pour some directly over my grilled meats as well. Great, great flavor.
Overall recommendation: I’m no longer just an aficionado of this sauce, but I may be in the running for president of the fan club. Searingly hot but still tasty, this sauce is for the chilehead who likes a great tasting sauce that will make you sweat and cry with joy. Bent is seemingly always looking to make new batches and improve this sauce’s formula, so feel free to contact him through The Hot Pepper and let him know you’d like to try a bottle. Even with shipping costs from Australia, it’s well worth you giving it a try. Enjoy!