On Sunday while I was napping on the couch waiting to watch the Vikings blow it later in the afternoon, someone dropped off a bottle of hot sauce my front stoop. When the wife came home from running errands she brought it inside and gave me the usual guff about not using the sauces I receive. After looking at the bottle and seeing that the contents promised to be “XXXXtra Hot”, I decided to pop it open the next day and give Melinda’s XXXXtra Hot Reserve a try.
The bottle is nicely decorated and you can clearly see the ingredients inside. Pepper chunks and seeds are prevalent and the ingredients include plenty of other items to help quell the heat rising from the habanero base. Unfortunately when hot sauces include carrots and lime juice they are rarely as spicy as they claim. However, there were no surprise chemicals or ingredients in this sauce–only habaneros, carrots, onions, lime juice, vinegar, garlic and salt. Nice.
I opened the bottle and found one of those incredibly annoying caps which limits the amount of hot sauce you can pour. Keeping it on to see how much damage I could do with it in place, I put a single and very small amount of sauce on my finger. The problem with such a chunky hot sauce is that with such a small opening you never know what type of chunk you’re going to get. My first was not a habanero apparently as I couldn’t taste much heat at all. After three or four more dashes I finally got a bit and it gave me a quick cough.
Next I tried it on my chicken pot pie. I put 10 to 15 dashes and mixed it in. The portion size wasn’t large enough to kill off the heat of a normal habanero sauce but this one was lost in translation. I took the cap off and poured it on. While extremely flavorful, and definitely not much in the way of the generally miserable habanero flavor, it just wasn’t hot. In fact, after using it exactly twice, I have less than 1/4 of the bottle remaining. But, that’s not to say it doesn’t taste good. It does.
Overall, I enjoyed Melinda’s XXXXtra Reserve Hot Sauce. While I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it again I would go so far as to say that if you are looking for some habanero flavor without a lot of heat, this would definitely be a great choice for you.
Have you had Melinda’s XXXXtra Reserve or any of their other sauces? What did you think? Do you have a use for a hot sauce made from habaneros without the extreme heat they usually carry? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.