I’m a fan of chilli sauces. I haven’t posted in a while (various things) but buying a new chilli sauce, albeit one that I have tried before made me feel like posting a review. This particular sauce was on offer at Sainsbury’s today, which, by the way, has declined somewhat in its offerings, choice and general randomness. The coffee section is dominated by Taylors of Harrogate blandness and Costa/Starb*cks ‘house’ varietals. This isn’t the kind of world that I want to see, but perhaps it is the kind of world that the average Sainsbury’s shopper wants to see, and thus, the buyer(s) have either cottoned on, or been co-erced into abandoning their whimsy. I digress.
It’s a thick sauce, with a small neck, and so the first attempt at shaking some directly into my mouth fails. The sauce is, like many top quality and high end chilli sauces, fermented for taste. The Tabasco company age their sauces too, and in this case, there is the added dimension of smoke which is imparted from the classic smoky chilli, the chipotle. I shake the bottle and try again.
Out come a few drops, onto my tongue and, accidentally, onto my face. Ignore the burning on my face: there are rich notes of spice, of smoke, of salt (perhaps too much salt) and there is a balancing sweetness. The ingredients don’t hint at this, and the sweetness is surprising and in some ways, disappointing. In the long run, it is probably necessary. All in all, a good, solid mark for this, which is reflected in its price and cultural cachet. People don’t look down on you for having a bottle of this at the table, in the same way that they do if you have a bottle of Encona or Dunn’s River. Which of course, is classist nonsense, because both of those sauces and their varietals are very good. HP chilli sauce, on the other hand, what are you thinking