Nearly two weeks ago while visiting with UpWithTheMooses, I was offered the opportunity to sample a hot sauce he received from a friend. This friend is a member of a pepper of the month club and as part of that received a bottle of ghost pepper sauce. While a chili-head, they were quite afraid of the damage a ghost pepper can do to your mouth and decided to pass it along to someone with a bit more experience. Thankfully their loss was our gain.
Anyway, UWTM handed me a bottle of this sauce, as well as some other sauces he picked up in Alabama, and urged me to try it. I uncorked the bottle, (yes, I said uncorked) and poured a bit on my finger. The sauce had the most perfect mix of heat and smoked pepper flavor I have ever tasted from a bottle. While Bella Pepper’s website touts the high standards they hold themselves to, I rarely believe any marketing materials provided. However, in this case the sauce was spot on.
After trying a little more I decided right then and there I was going to buy some as soon as I could and placed my online order the next morning ($22 for two bottles with free S&H). After a little confusion with the ordering system on their website and some miscommunications due to the use of Google Checkout (communications from the company to me were sent through Google Checkout rather than via phone or e-mails direct to me) I had two bottles en route to my home.
Yesterday they arrived and were packaged well along with a surprise bottle of Chilosa hot sauce and a number of pens and some business cards. I don’t know if the extra goodies were because of the Google Checkout issues which I made mention of when I responded or what but they were certainly welcome.
Almost immediately I took one of the two bottles in my hand and shook it violently. While the bottle looks like it should hold tequila, it holds something a whole heck of a lot stronger and with a much bigger after effect. Pieces of pepper are clearly evident through the glass jar and I was quite excited to try it again. While the heat of just one or two drops at UWTM’s house wasn’t overpowering, I assumed that more sauce could possibly provide the desired effect.
After pouring the equivalent of two tablespoons of the sauce into a bowl I took an even closer look and could clearly see pepper seeds, pieces of pepper, and the reddish brown color of the sauce. While vinegar is usually most prevalent when you take a whiff of hot sauces, in this case all you got were pepper and smoke. The ingredients include chipotle peppers, crushed red peppers, and naga jolokia peppers and while it includes vinegar, it’s of the red wine type which may explain why it’s not as overpowering as when they use distilled vinegar.
The #1 concern of the pepper sauce creator is the flavor of the sauce and he definitely nailed that. The flavor comes out first and is bold, smoky and definitely takes precedence over anything else (vinegar, salt, or heat). So while I was disappointed in the heat at first, I kept at the sauce and finished off the two tablespoons over the course of five minutes. It was at this point that the heat hit me like you cannot believe. There was no gradual pickup, no warning signs, nothing. Just from nice barbeque flavor to BURN.
I admit…I was lulled into a false sense of security that this was just like any other hot sauce claiming to be “extreme” but there it was. Without the warning my mouth had no time to prepare and I paid the price with a 32oz jar of water and 8oz of milk. My hair was soaked with sweat immediately. I was a little dizzy and my mouth was still on fire. B E A U T I F U L.
Overall this is by far the best hot sauce I have ever tasted in my life. While not quite up to par with Girvan’s Ghost Wing sauce simply because it does not have the same viscosity, the flavor is so utterly enjoyable that I have to agree that it would definitely work with just about anything including sandwiches, fish, and especially bloody marys.
Have you ever tried Bella Pepper’s Bella Diavolo or any of their other products? If so what did you think of the flavor and the heat? What about other hot sauces you’ve had recently? What is your favorite thing to put hot sauce on? Whatever you have to say about this very excellent hot sauce go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.