I came across Doug Crane, creator of Dragon’s Blood Elixir, at this year’s Peppers on the Beach. Having heard about his products from Joe Levinson, I was definitely eager to try his stuff. Doug and I talked for a bit and I soon realized how enthusiastic and happy he was to be at a hot sauce event having people try his products. So, without future ado, let’s dive into these ancient, esoteric sounding sauces.
Dragon’s Blood Elixir Hot Sauce Ingredients: Fire roasted salsa (tomatoes, Jalapenos, onions, garlic, salt, citric acid), apple cider vinegar, apple puree, Red Savina and other Habanero peppers, balsamic vinegar, sea salt.
According to Doug’s site, Dragon’s Blood was a key ingredient to the “elixir of life”. Like I said, I love the esotericness (is that a word) of these sauces. Right off the bat the sweetness from the apple cider vinegar hits followed immediately by the apple puree giving this sauce an “apple butter” like twist to it. After that comes the fire roasted salsa with its hints of tomato and garlic. Then the Habaneos hit home for a finishing flavor.
The heat starts on the front of the tongue then quickly zaps the back of the throat. It’s a nice quick build which lingers around for a decent time so much so that I ended up getting a nice little endorphin rush from. Overall, the sauce has a unique flavor to it which really comes from the fire roasted salsa and the apple centric theme. When I cooked with Dragon’s Blood Elixir a lot of the flavors took a back seat position and the apple really shown through.
Dragon’s Blood Elixir: Taste: 8.5, Heat: 7.5
Unique Destiny Chipotle Sauce Ingredients: Chipotle peppers, fire roasted salsa (tomatoes, Jalapenos, onions, garlic, salt, citric acid), apple cider vinegar, Habanero peppers, sea salt.
The next sauce up on the review spoon is Unique Destiny which is named so based on Doug’s switch from one aspect of the food industry to another. First on the taste bandwagon is the roasted salsa with a hint of apple sweetness coming from the apple cider vinegar. The sweetness then melds into the smokey flavor of the chipotles then flows into the Habaneros for the finish.
Unlike the Dragon’s Blood Elixir, Unique Destiny is decently tame with the heat grabbing at the sides of the tongue and a slight tingle in the back of the throat. Just the Elixir though, this one’s flavors do get thrown in the back seat when cooked with and the smokiesness comes right up front.
Unique Destiny: Taste: 8, Heat: 2.34
Condiment from Hell Ingredients: Tomato concentrate, corn syrup, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, horseradish, Chipotle peppers, Dragon’s Blood Elixir (Fire roasted salsa (tomatoes, Jalapenos, onions, garlic, salt, citric acid), apple cider vinegar, apple puree, Red Savina and other Habanero peppers, balsamic vinegar, sea salt), mustard seed, sea salt, spices.
Condiment from Hell arose from Doug’s annoyance, as a chef, for the people that slathered ketchup onto his dishes without even tasting them first. He realized it was a loosing battle so instead of fighting ‘em, he joined ‘em and made this all purpose ketchup. I must say, I do love the label design on this product even if it doesn’t match the rest of his line.
Ketchup, unlike hot sauce, is one of those products that I really never could get the full gamut of taste from (due to my handicap) so bare with me on this one folks as I do a general rundown of the tastes instead of my full rundown. Up first is that signature ketchup taste followed by some apple cider sweetness and balsamic vinegar twang. After that I definitely can pick out the Dragon’s Blood Elixir and Chipotle peppers. The heat is an improvement on most bland varieties of the red stuff but I still found myself spicing it up even more with the Jolokia powder I carry with me at all times.
It’s a good ketchup and it definitely did the restaurant tour with me. The only thing I found a bit distracting was the overly vinegar taste and cidery flavors that I got mid taste. That taste continued out into the aftertaste and really distracted me from the extra flavors that the Dragon’s Blood Elixir brought to the product.
Condiment from Hell: Taste: 6, Heat: 1.8
For a new company and a new person entering the large playground that is the hot sauce world, Doug Crane and his Dragon’s Blood Elixir company really hits the core principles of the industry quite well. His sauces have a central theme to them that you can pick out but don’t taste like it’s the same sauce just repackaged. They taste like they are all of the same family, each product lending itself to different culinary adventures.
Doug himself is a down to earth guy. Talking with him was like sitting down with your next door neighbor over a beer and shooting the shit on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I look forward to his future sauces and wish him well.