That might be why I've done so well with them so far then. Can't say I've seen a strawberry Brainstrain jam over here but I reviewed a pumpkin one for halloween and, while I'm generally not so into pumpkin, that was something else, both in its heat and in its wonderfully fruity, spiced taste.
Hands down, Red Brain Strain. Those things ROCK me with cap cramps.
Every. Single. Freakin'. Time. Full stomach or not; doesn't matter
I've never eaten them fresh but both dried and in things, I've had no problems with Brainstrains. The Infinaga, however, that barely even gets warm before it hits the gullet. The heat doesn't peak until after it hits the stomach so even the littlest bit is cap cramp murder. Not nice at all fresh but I could see small quantities making a wonderful winter warmer.
This week's post for my blog is a product I've been dying to talk about for a long time now but, sadly, free samples do have the downside of having to take precidence. Fortunately though, I do now have chance to talk about the Hot Plot Chilli Co.'s barbecue sauce, that I picked up for entirely the wrong reason.
Here's the review:
Another tuesday, time for another spicy sauce review but, with my focus back on my weird and interesting finds once more, it’s time we had a look at a rather unusual barbecue sauce.
One from the Hot Plot Chilli Co. that claims to be quite hot.
Of course, this claim is in rather small print beneath the sauce’s flaming black name and doesn’t stand out too well against the flames that cover the bottom and sides of the sauce’s otherwise deep blue backgrounded label.
Visually, it doesn’t say a lot about the sauce but the blue background does set it apart from the rest of their range. What I personally really like about the label design, however, is the part that remains most consistent. The central company logo.
You see, Hot Plot Chilli Co. may have named themselves after the plot of land on which they grow their chillies but they seem to have fully embraced the other meaning of the word “plot”.
All their product names are things like “conspiracy”, “rebellion” and this one, “TNT”, but what really sells me on the theming is the cheery red Guy Fawkes mask they use as the main image of their entire line.
A mask that shows their connection to hot food in its chilli pepper horns.
It’s friendly, whimsical and even slightly cute. It shows they have a sense of humour and fits in perfectly with the company name, making them ever so memorable.
The print quality of the label may not be ideal but their logo really is.
But I didn’t pick this one up for its looks. No, I grabbed this sauce because I was interested in seeing how hot it really was.
There are, after all, very few actually hot barbecue sauces and the last one I had, while wonderful with an already smokey dish, didn’t provide quite the chipotle flavour I was looking for.
Upon closer inspection, however, this sauce is only one percent chipotle, with no other chilli to give it kick.
Getting it out the bottle quickly confirms my suspicions. This product is a well flowing barbecue style sauce with all the desired stickiness but the burn just isn’t there.
It hits me as a low
across the roof of the mouth which then fades away quickly into just a little tingle.
It’s on the hot end compared to most barbecue sauces, I’ll give it that, but strength is still not where this sauce shines. No, this product is mild and all about the flavour.
The main body is the usual, slightly tomatoey, dark sugar and molasses base you find in nearly every barbecue sauce, with a little smokiness and extra depth from the chipotle itself blending in exquisitely.
But that’s nothing new. What sets this sauce apart from its competitors is the use of a cherry liqueur in place of the ciders, beers and whiskeys barbecue sauces more often contain.
It sounds weird but the rich, sweet fruitiness pairs wonderfully with the rich, sweet, smokey body of the sauce and any sickliness it might have caused is stopped in its tracks by the addition of real cherry juice. That slight tartness takes the edge off the sugar and liqueur sweetness, while the fruit itself only further boosts the unusual but ever so welcome flavour.
This one is smokey, it’s sticky, it’s sweet and it’s fruity. It goes with just about everything a barbecue sauce normally would and it was a real struggle to keep from using it all up before my review.
Just a minor correction because I'm a bit of a pedant: Bees only actively beat their wings approximately 400 times a minute. The other ~800 times are the result of rubberised shoulder joints that cause the wings to essentially beat automatically on rebound. This allows them an effective BPM in excess of a thousand that will keep them airborne, despite them not theoretically having the musculature or the energy consumption to do so.
This means that they only put in about two fifths of the effort claimed by the site selling you hydration aids.
They still work hard for your plants and your honey. They definitely deserve the rest and rehydration. I just want to set the facts straight.
And, on a less related note, pay attention to what they pollinate.
Birch honey is as dark flavoured as the wood looks and smells and blueberry is remarkably light, while buckwheat makes it taste almost wholemeal and himalayan balsam turns it sickly and disgustingly floral. A little floralness can be good though, especially when combining the honey with Habaneros or Nagas. Birch and generic mexican honeys, being rather darker, are better suited to earthy and/or smokey chillies. Mexican honey is the best to pair with Chipotle. Personally though, I take local honey as a way of combating hayfever and have, as such, learnt to love the added pollen sort from local farms.
I wish I could remember more of the countless varieties I've tried over the years because the differences between them are far greater than you might think.
This week's post from my blog is reaching you a little late, sorry about that, I've had a lot of things going on and I completely and utterly forgot to copy it over. That's fixed now.
Also, potentially of interest here, is that this is an award winning product. I briefly mention such in the review but I actually looked into it a bit more behind the scenes and opted not to talk about it. I like to steer clear of any major chilli controversy and there certainly seems to have been a fair bit surrounding the World Hot Sauce Awards on this forum.
As Lucky Dog says, the quality of the show's management does not reflect the quality of the sauces that competed but this may explain why the Unusual Chutney Company fails to name the award it won. Or, more correctly, the award it got 3rd place in the "Ultra Hot" division of in 2013.
Anyway, without further ado, here's my post on the product:
Hello again spice lovers, this week we’re looking at a rather hot but also rather different sauce that I got for christmas, back when I still had a backlog of product samples to showcase.
Now I’ve just got a backlog of products I actually paid for. That I picked up because they were exciting to me in some way but couldn’t be talked about at the time due to scheduling.
The same reason I’ve left this review so late.
But that’s enough behind the scenes chitchat, it’s time to finally bring you the Unusual Chutney Company’s Fiendfyre:
An unusually green coloured product for something that claims to be mostly reaper, though it’s clearly not entirely green chillies as there are brown and even some slight reddish notes to the sauce.
Contrasting this, we see a glossy label depicting a flaming red chilli atop a bold, high print quality black background, the smoke from the flames giving off a slightly mystical purple glow where they and the black meet. Add to that the sparks coming off the left hand side of the pepper and you have a very cool looking image.
But, while the image may be impressive and its colours contrast excellently with the product, that contrast is also its downfall.
You see, the generic red chilli has absolutely nothing to do with the jalapeño, reaper, scorpion and ghost that go into the Fiendfyre sauce.
Just as the flames, while suitably mystical, do nothing to suggest either the sauce’s jalapeño content or the serpentine form of the Harry Potter spell with the same name.
No, there is nothing unique about this picture and nothing what so ever to tie it to the product. The only hint the label gives us of the green chilli content within is the subtle tip of one, hidden behind the Y and R of the bold white name. And it cuts off abruptly near the left hand edge of that Y for no clear reason.
A name that, I might add, is never completely in view, thanks to it wrapping roughly three quarters of the way around the bottle. It looks good with its red outline and speckles, as well as the shadow it casts, but I had to clip together two pictures just to show you the full thing. This bottle was clearly not designed with display purposes in mind.
But, to be fair on the label’s almost complete lack of green chilli, the jalapeño was never meant to be the focus point of this sauce. I spoke to its creator at the end of last year and, in his opinion, it was just a base ingredient that would go with anything. Something he could build the main flavours of his sauce on top of.
And it thus featured heavily in a huge number of his other products aswell.
Personally, I disagree with this approach but does it really matter? So long as it’s getting good results, is the theory behind the sauce actually important?
Of course, we’re going to have to put those results to the test. Just because this sauce is “World Award Winning” doesn’t mean it can get off without a tasting.
This sauce is thick and comes out in blobs, giving it a chunky appearance, despite all but the seeds inside being blended very finely.
The aroma it gives off is slightly sweet but, for the most part, a savoury one. Not tart but still heavy on the vinegar and onions, with just a hint of the rapeseed oil and the chilli mix.
It smells pretty good but I’d be disappointed if it tasted like that. From something that’s a mix of jalapeños, carolina reapers and other superhots, I’d like that chilli to come through rather more. And it does.
In small quantities, this sauce has a two stage flavour, where the first is a slightly more jalapeño tinged version of its relish-like smell. As the heat begins to take hold, however, so too does the reaper’s sourness, which brings alongside it notes of trinidad scorpion and a strong, green, herb-free jalapeño burst.
But you can, should you want, skip straight to this second stage, since it overpowers the first right away when eaten in greater quantities. Not that I’d really advise that with a first ingredient reaper product of any kind.
Because yes, this product is hot. Very hot. Super hot, even. At minimum, a high
that starts at the tip of the tongue and roof of my mouth but soon takes over more or less everywhere.
And I say that that’s a minimum because, while this product averages about a five on my scale, placing it alongside the hotter ghost pepper products, it can be a little inconsistent, regardless of how much you shake it. At its highest, it is, in fact, the very top of what I’d call a
It hurts if mishandled!
But, if used sensibly, its tartness and green taste will do excellently for cutting through fatty cheese dishes or allow it to transform pesto into something crazy.
A chunky cream cheese, I think, would pair especially well with it.
This sauce certainly has its uses but I do find it to be a little bitter, as though it wasn’t just the ‘peños that were picked green.
It’s a decent sauce by any standard but I find it excels more in its unique combination of super heat and mild chilli flavour than in its actual quality.
Posted by spicefreak
on 21 February 2017 - 10:02 AM
Bit of a jokey one for you this week, in the form of a movie tie-in. Here's the review, copied over from my blog:
Hello again everyone, it's time for something silly.
More specifically, this crazy little movie tie-in:
I was walking through town the other day, looking for a bite to eat, when this peculiar bottle caught my attention from the back shelf of a street food stall.
It was different to the other sauces they had on sale, at least visually, with its largely black and white label standing out surprisingly well against the bold colours of their crazier things like Dave's and Blair's.
So I asked to examine it closer and boy was I surprised! I had no idea there was a Fifty Shades hot sauce. Let alone a sequel to go along with the new sequel film.
I was shocked and appalled but also weirdly drawn in. As I suspect may have been the case for much of the main franchise's audience.
I had to try the sauce, if only as a talking point.
But, while that alone was enough to sell me on this comedy showpiece, the packaging has a little more to it that I feel deserves some recognition.
Like the posters for the first film, this sauce's label uses the “colour splash” technique to draw the viewer's attention to the few details highlighted in colour. And, just like the film posters, the one colour in use is a sensual shade somewhere between pink and red.
Unlike in those posters, however, the lips of the blindfolded woman aren't the star attraction here.
They have enough strength of colour to draw the eye but they also pale in comparison to the last word of the name and the habanero that hangs off it. Because this is where the action is.
Fifty Shades Hotter isn't about real BDSM, but rather the sensual elements of the enjoyment of food and humanity's potentially masochistic relationship with chillies. It has all the same base elements as those movie posters but the addition of that one habanero completely changes the context and implies that the underlying action is suggestive chilli consumption, not anything explicit at all.
Not that the various text snippets around the sides of the bottle do anything to hide the sauce's origins in adult themes.
But there is a third piece of this pinky red that's just as important. By using what resembles a hasty lipstick scrawl on a bathroom mirror for the last word of its name, this product's creator cleverly both attracts us to the importance of this being the hotter version and makes the word “Hotter” look like a last minute addition. An afterthought, if you will, subtly but clearly getting across the message that this is an update to an earlier sauce. One known as Fifty Shades of Red.
And yet, while the label gets all this right, the label isn't the only interesting part of the packaging.
Yes, despite its very basic bottle shape and size, this appears to be a custom container made specially for this sauce. With how generic it otherwise appears, you'd be forgiven for missing this small detail but there is, in fact, a little heart extruded ever so slightly from the base. A very pleasing touch.
But, while this container and its artwork definitely make for a great gifty item, that's no good if the sauce inside doesn't hold up. So it's time to dig in!
Right off the bat, the most apparent flavour in here is that of vinegar. Spirit vinegar, I believe. But it's not the only flavour and the others aren't exactly subtle, either.
The onions make themselves quite well known and so too does the pepper. A combination of cayenne and black pepper that blends in with the assortment of spices to make a strong spiced flavour not unlike that of popular mexican sauces like Valentina, only a little darker.
The garlic comes in quite late and, by comparison, is rather well hidden, much like the red habanero that supports the cayenne. Nothing in this sauce is mild in taste, though, some ingredients just stand out a bit more than others amongst the amalgamation of powerful flavours that is Fifty Shades Hotter.
And, speaking of not being mild, this sauce certainly isn't. It's not as hot as mos habanero ones, being primarily cayenne and having even that fairly low down on its list, but it still reaches the top of a
placing it on the higher end of medium as its warmth comes through with that late hit of garlic.
All in all, it's definitely better than I was expecting and, while the maker's suggestion of sensually slathering it onto animal body parts strikes me as a weird, if thematic, way to word it, lightly coating dark meats with this sauce seems like the perfect use.
I do, however, also think it would be well at home as an addition to the cooking of a rich savoury dish like mexican style chilli, or even perhaps a molé, though it feels like sacrilege to suggest such.
This product is, first and foremost, a gimmick, but it's certainly decent enough to see use should you decide to pick it up.
Posted by spicefreak
on 20 February 2017 - 07:57 PM
Never heard of raisins in a korma before but then, actually using chilli in one is pretty rare too. People normally focus on the sweet, spiced, creamy richness of the dish but it also takes up the flavour of chilli powders most spectacularly and is pretty good with fresh green chillies cooked in too.
I like mine with ghost pepper powder but I've been wanting to do a chipotle one as an experiment for a while now.
Posted by spicefreak
on 18 February 2017 - 08:13 PM
I picked up some Lemon Drop powder a while back. It's a unique flavour that's rather different from the fresh chilli but still has some citrus elements. Went well with morrocan food and made an excellent okra curry but was also just close enough to lemon to substitute for the fruit's juice in a honey apple upside-down cake.