SPICY WEEK PART 2: Regular Hot Sauces

All right. All is back to normal and the photos are here! So without further ado, let me share with you the results of a drunken evening with Swagger, 40 McNuggets, and an asston of hot sauces. Damn, son.We judged the hot sauces out of ten, with points for these categories:
Heat (Out of three. The heat had to be lingering with a good burn, but not painful)
Flavor (Out of three. Savory, peppery, vinegary, with a good balance.)
Appearance (Out of three. Visually appealing? Appetizing? Something you'd serve to guests?)
Label (Out of one. Is it clip-art or Cezanne?)The first sauce tried was the Suck Creek wing sauce. I especially liked it because of its name, but the clip-art minimalist logo, and funky chicken legs sticking out from the name were kind of cheesy. This was a visually appealing sauce, but had lots of vinegar. Possibly a little too much, because that was really all we tasted. It had a slight burn, but didn't really linger.
Heat- 2
Flavor- 1
Appearance- 3
Label- 0
OVERALL- 6The next sauce was a Caribbean hot sauce, Goldson's MoreFire. I love fruit and heat so I was expecting a nice mango or papaya flavor in this. It was difficult for Swagger to get this open because it was sealed with a crappy sticker, and combined with the ever-persistent "drunk hands," we quickly got irritated. The packaging was strange and looked like someone had gone overboard with Photoshop. And after all that work, it wasn't worth the hassle. It smelled strange, and the main ingredient wasn't even pepper. It was tomato. It smelled like barbecue and was overly chunky with a weird spice that faded quickly away.
Heat- 0
Flavor- 1
Appearance- 0
Label- 1
OVERALL- 2After that, we had a sauce that I'd had kicking around for a while, the Big Papi Double Hitter. Now, I don't know about you, but when I see a label advertising "Big Papi's sauce," a man whose lips are dangerously close to a smoking, phallic object, and flaming objects all around, I think of one thing. Luckily, Swagger knows a thing or two about baseball and informed me that this was actually the fabulous David Ortiz. And the sauce wasn't bad. The packaging may have been a little suggestive, but it had a nice blend of peppers and a decent heat with a clean, wasabi-like burn. It was a little salty, but carried a good smoky flavor, too.
Heat- 2
Flavor- 2
Appearance- 1
Label- 1
OVERALL- 6This hot sauce looked a little like the Suck Creek sauce, but with a thicker texture. It was a Southern hot sauce, so I expected a lot from this company. But Lillie's of Charleston spent more time making sure their labels were Gullah-approved than priming their hot sauces, because this was too sweet with a very slight burn suspected to be from the vinegar that clouded its flavor than peppers.
Heat- 0
Flavor- 1
Appearance- 1
Label- 0
OVERALL- 2After that, we had a sauce by Heartbreaking Dawn's. They sent over a few unique product that spanned other categories as well, but this classic "gold" sauce made me think of mustard and heat- two of my favorite things. The packaging was funky, but I didn't really understand what the tiki-like creature on the bottle was. It smelled promising, and wasn't too sweet, but had an overpowering vinegar aftertaste. It was still pretty tasty with a lingering burn.
Heat- 2
Flavor- 2
Appearance- 1
Label- 1
Overall- 7
Dr. Gonzo's Uncommon Condiments was a company I'd been chatting with for a while, and their products seemed diverse and interesting, with archaic names that reminded me of an apothecary. The packaging and labeling was clean-cut and monochromatic in an Inception, hipster-like fashion. This particular sauce, the Buffalo Balm, was very watery, but had an exceptionally tasty lime and jalapeno flavor and a really good, lingering prickle. There was no aftertaste, but there was one of the best afterburns of any of the sauces we'd had so far. This was seriously good stuff.
Heat- 3
Flavor- 3
Appearance- 1
Label- 2
Overall- 9The next sauce was weird in all senses of the word. For starters, Trini Mike's had a creepy anthropomorphic pepper character, and that guy was jacked. So we had this jacked pepper character on a beach, with his sexy pepper wife and adorable pepper infant grilling peppers on the beach, and then the pepper sauce in the bottle. These characters not only condoned cannibalism; they actively participated in it themselves! Who was the pepper in the bottle? A cousin? An ex-lover of Mrs. Pep? When we opened the bottle, the sauce had separated and was thick and gooey on top. This sauce was like napalm. It was painfully hot with no flavor and took about ten minutes for me to get the burn to recede, aided by about a half gallon of milk. I didn't enjoy this at all and thought it was disgusting.
Heat- 0
Flavor- 0
Appearance- 0
Label- 0
OVERALL- 0
The next sauce was a little misleading. I had been under the impression that this was a unique, fruit-based hot sauce, but it was really more of a fruit spread. It was unique, a sunny peach-tomato "hot sauce" with a really distinctly organic flavor, but it wasn't hot at all. Strangely enough, this contained habanero peppers, but we didn't taste them at all.
Heat- 0
Flavor- 1
Appearance- 2
Label- 0
OVERALL- 3We came up with another wing sauce after that one. It lived up to its name- Saucy Mama. It was a bright, bold red with a succinct label and it glistened on our nugget. This really was the perfect wing sauce- even going as far as to rival Frank's! It was a buttery, tangy wing sauce with a freakishly smooth texture. Really, really smooth, and it even had a decent heat to boot, perfectly balanced between pepper and vinegar. This was a wonderful sauce and Keepitcoming and I even used it in a sandwich for the Puppy Bowl.
Heat- 3
Flavor- 2
Appearance- 2
Label- 1
OVERALL- 8We then came onto the Crooked Condiments hot sauce. It said it was a jalapeno hot sauce, but was mysteriously brown and chunky, with a sour scent wafting from the bottle. It had a very distinct smell, like soy sauce and raw onions. And it was not what we were expecting- there was nothing to distinguish that it was at all jalapeno. It tasted more like a spicy tamarind sauce, with a quick burn and a milky, sour aftertaste.
Heat- 1
Flavor- 0
Appearance- 0
Label- 0
OVERALL- 1Ten sauces in and we were pretty tired and pretty wasted. It was already 1 in the morning and we'd ingested more nuggets than any man ought to. But still, we persevered. The next sauce was from the aptly named sauce line, Pain is Good. And indeed, it is, with a sauce like this. The sauce in question was a jalapeno harissa, a familiar spice flirting with the exotic. This, I liked. The bottle and labeling gave a mixed breed stereotype- maybe your hippie cousin's grungy girlfriend from Texas. She has dreadlocks. With its lunch bag label and screaming severed heads, along with a flask-shaped bottle, it was pretty snappy and a little sexy. Immediately after opening the bottle, a nice, smoky scent emanated out. It was a really flavorful, smoky sauce, and it wasn't too spicy, but packed enough heat to make us draw in our breaths. You can really taste the roasting of the peppers and spices in this.
Heat- 1
Flavor- 3
Appearance- 2
Label- 1
OVERALL- 7After that was a South African sauce, Nando's Hot Peri-Peri sauce. This was another bright, coral-colored sauce with a kick to its flavor- surprisingly, not a spicy kick. The real surprise in this was a bright, fresh burst of lemon about midway the bite. For a sauce with vinegar as the main ingredient, it sure wasn't as acidic as I'd imagined it to be.
Heat- 2
Flavor- 3
Appearance- 1
Label- 0
OVERALL- 6The last hot sauce of the night (thankfully) was Red Hot Robin's chipotle mango hot sauce. This was a drippy, almost syrupy in consistency, sauce that was a little heavy handed on the chipotle. The smokiness was almost too cloying for me, but it had a good burn to cut it and a sweet flavor, despite lacking a distinct mango taste. Swagger and I both liked the Ed Hardyesque packaging.
Heat- 3
Flavor- 1
Appearance- 1
Label- 1
OVERALL- 6

TOP THREE
1. Dr. Gonzo's Buffalo Balm (9)
2. Saucy Mama's Wing Sauce (8)
3. Pain is Good Jalapeno Harissa Sauce (8)

Stay tuned for tomorrow's spicy post...Swagger reviews death sauces!

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