SPICY WEEK PART 4: Spicy Mustards

Day three. We've gotten past the tough stuff and are now sailing smoothly. I neglected to inform our participants that this would probably be the hardest category to do well in, as I consider myself a highly professional mustard connoisseur. But with seven contenders for the prize of best mustard, I found myself up against a team of seasoned and spicy surprises...Like last time, we judged on four categories, with three points for heat, three points for flavor, three points for appearance, and a point for a label, 'cause that shit is for real. To accurately measure the saucy spiciness of the Mustard Carbohydrate Soakage Scale, we swapped out our wing hack, McNuggets, for something a little more traditional: soft pretzels, son.
Our first mustard was another selection from Crooked Condiments, an ale-based mustard. It was smooth in its appearance, but had an acrid, grainy texture like lumpy gravy and a one-noted bitterness that overwhelmed the pretzel and somehow rendered it mushy. It didn't taste like mustard or ale and didn't have the heat we expected it to have, instead carrying more of an astringent sting. It didn't really didn't go well with the snack and left a bad aftertaste in our mouths.
Heat- 1
Flavor- 0
Appearance- 2
Label- 0
OVERALL- 3The next mustard we tried was another condiment from Saucy Mama. As you know from our last tasting, Saucy Mama represented one of the top three condiments in the regular hot sauce category, so we were excited to see if their quality carried on in between sauces. This was a chipotle mayonnaise in a squeeze bottle, with the same clean label of the wing sauce. This had a nice texture and flavor, but for the first few dips, had a viscous feel that made it a little difficult to adhere to the pretzel. I had to employ a "scoop method," one that I rarely use for its difficulty in execution and high tendency to ruin clothes. But the result was worth the risk. The mustard was smoky and creamy, with a nice textural irregularity and chunkiness to it.
Heat- 2
Flavor- 3
Appearance- 2
Label- 1
OVERALL- 8
After that, we sampled a most unusual condiment. Here's a riddle for you: What's bright red, smells like peppers, but isn't peppers? It's Dave's Gourmet Hurtin' Habanero Mustard, with slogans and flames and spice all up in this bitch. This dog's bark was worse than its bite. Everything about this screamed pain and agony, but it was really a lot of smoke and mirrors. The heat burnt a little, but was pretty mild and clean, with very little aftertaste. The sauce was bright red and would probably make an outstanding topping for a fancy appetizer, but isn't best for heat aficionados. It was more of a presentation-based condiment than one that relied on heat. Decent.
Heat- 1
Flavor- 2
Appearance- 2
Label- 2
OVERALL- 7It would seem we'd entered the realm of zany and strangely colored mustards, because up after Dave's was a cranberry mustard from Up the Creek. Like Dave's, this was bright and sassy, with a nice pink tinge and an almost jammy texture, like a home-canned preserve. It had a sweet, tangy cranberry flavor and a nice salty balance, but lacked that zip that I so desire in a good mustard. It wasn't spicy at all, and I found myself craving a little heat to go with the sauciness of the berries.
Heat- 0
Flavor- 3
Appearance- 3
Label- 0
OVERALL- 6After the last few, I was craving something with a decent heat to it, so we turned to the Food and Wine jalapeno mustard aioli. This reminded me of the Saucy Mama in its appearance, but had a creamier, more uniform texture and milder flavor. It must have been the added cream in the aioli, but this just didn't deliver the spice I wanted it to, despite boasting a sweet tanginess.
Heat- 0
Flavor- 2
Appearance- 2
Label- 1
OVERALL- 5We then came to another repeat offender, a different selection from Dr. Gonzo's. This time, it was their Drunk Stunt mustard. From the moment we opened the jar, we knew this was going to be special. The mustard was not blended, far from it- it was a seedy study in autumnal colors, held together by minimal liquid, and stuck to the spoon as we scooped it onto the pretzel. From the first bite, it was clear that this was no ordinary mustard. It was dizzyingly smoky and flavorful, with a bite and spice that kept growing. At the end, the smoked heat, a palatable and savory burn, lingered for about a minute. I feel like I could put this on anything and it would make it instantly gourmet. It was like the golden touch of mustard. The depth of the flavors kept growing with each sampling, each new thing it was paired with. It was perfect, and I will savor my small jar as though I would a fine wine.
Heat- 3
Flavor- 3
Appearance- 3
Label- 1
OVERALL- 10Following that was tough, but we remembered that Pain is Good gave Dr. Gonzo's a run for their money in the regular sauce round and swept the death category, so that was our last mustard. This was less of a mustard and more of a pourable sauce, so it might be less optimal for sandwiches and better as a dipping sauce. As soon as we opened the bottle, we noticed how smoky this was, on par with Dr. Gonzo's. While it lacked a distinctly mustardy texture, it had the tang to make up for it and a powerful, clean burn. Definitely jalapenos.
Heat- 3
Flavor- 2
Appearance- 2
Label- 1
OVERALL- 8

TOP THREE
Dr. Gonzo's Drunk Stunt Mustard (10)
Pain is Good Jalapeno Mustard Sauce (8)
Saucy Mama Chipotle Mustard (8)

The top three are neck and neck! Who will win the prestigious award of Best of Spicy Week? Stay tuned, hotheads...

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