Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, here we are again in Lake Wob……oops, I mean Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where once again, Merle and Diana at Hellfire Hot Sauce are concocting lovely little potions designed to entice, entertain, and envelope our senses with heat….I mean sweet……no…..heat…..no……sweet……… hea……….STOP!! Stop the Madness!!! (Insert deep breath and a few yoga ommmms here) Of course I’m making light of the latest sauce they sent me to try – Devils Gold – a sauce that celebrates color, heat, fruit, and flavor! Sporting a label that is both appealing and kinda creepy at the same time, this sauce is unique in it’s ability to provide a great heat punch with the flavor of….ummm……fruit punch!
Devils Gold is a beautiful, yellow gold, medium consistency sauce sporting a label with a winged, blank-eyed she-devil babe with her hands in a cauldron of gold and pineapples! A nice visual combination of a sweet face, and piercing, menacing eyes, and well, you’ll have to see the rest and draw your own conclusion (But the sauce ain’t the only hot thing going here…just saying!) When you look at the ingredients of this yellow gold nectar, it reads like a Who’s Who of heat and sweet: Yellow Brain Strain, Fatalii, Trinidad Yellow 7-Pot, Yellow Bhut Jolokia, Yellow Scorpion, Pineapple, Pears, Oranges, Papaya, Vinegar, Sugar, Salt, and “Spices”. So in one delicious 5 ounce package, you get a killer combination of the hottest of the hot peppers all clad in yellow (my favorite color and pepper “flavor”, by the way), and yellow or gold fruits. Once again, Merle and Diana have rocked it out the box with this wonderfully flavored hot sauce!
We’ll discuss flavor in a minute, but first I want to talk about what this all-star combo of peppers create – HEAT! Lots of Heat! The heat profile in Devils Gold layers masterfully, beginning with a quick sting that hit the middle of my tongue and quickly rolled it’s way back to my throat, where it built and strengthened, filling my mouth and throat, and then decided to just hang around a while! I’m talking lingering to the extent that I had to actually grab the whipped cream can when I was doing an initial taste test and downed several spoonfuls pretty quickly! You can easily discern the distinct flavor of the scorpions and the fatalii, which always make the back of my tongue and throat burn for a while….But lest you think that Devils Gold is nothing but heat, let’s discuss the sweetness that made me fall in love!
The sweet fruits used in Devils Gold are perfect matches for the peppers….the nice acidic tang of sweet pineapple and orange combined with the smooth pear and papaya. The result is a fresh, almost tropical blend that balanced the heat without diminishing any of the kick! The splash of vinegar added to the tang, and the “spices” are so well blended, that I couldn’t really discern individual flavors (that’s a good thing, by the way!) A natural as a salad dressing with a little olive oil, cracked black pepper, and red Hawaiian sea salt, it also complimented most everything I used it with – tilapia (pictured), pork, chicken, black beans (awesomeness when I threw in a little of my favorite Bajan style mustardy sauce for balance), and perhaps the best- pizza!!!! It wasn’t the best for steak, turkey, and some veggies, so it may not be as versatile as some sauces given its flavor profile, but that’s not a detractor or a negative at all. Most gourmet quality, artisan sauces aren’t made for general purpose!
So what’s the overall impression, folks? I think this is an excellent, 4 Fiery Worlds rated sauce!! Hot, sweet, playful, and fresh, and a great addition to any Chilehead sauce cabinet!!! I want to thank Merle and Diana for sending me these wonderful sauces to check out and review, and I appreciated their openness to wanting constructive feedback, and not just asking for an empty endorsement, which I don’t give, by the way. The only problem was that there was little, or any “constructive” feedback to share, except for them to keep making these sauces year round! And why should they make all their sauces year round? Because, Ladies and Gentlemen……It’s a Fiery World!
The first sauce we are reviewing is Hellfire’s Chilimaster’s Reserve, which must have been born from Merle and Diana’s chili competition recipe book, because I bet it would make a dynamite chili flavor base. From the color to the flavor profile to the heat, it’s all there. Smacks of chili! Hot chili! Really, realllly good, hot chili. Cause this is a realllly, realllllly good hotsauce!! And it’s not just for chili! You can tell it’s a well thought out, complex sauce that packs some serious heat, but blended with a sweet mix of ingredients.
Get a load of what’s in this sauce: Chocolate Habanero, Scorpion, Jolokia, Naga, & 7-Pot peppers; Black Raspberries, Black Plums, Cherry Juice, Blueberries, Premium Chocolate, maple Syrup, Honey, Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon, Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey, Black Death Vodka, Salt, Vinegar, and “Spices”!!!!
Holy cow!!!!! Merle and Diana are either mad scientists, geniuses, or both! This sweet heat combo of flavors blends masterfully, belying whatever evil imagery Hellfire’s marketing is trying to concoct. There is nothing evil here, folks…well, except for the big heat punch that crawls up and scares the beejeebers out of you!! If it wasn’t so beautifully hot, I’d have to call this sauce Heavenfire….okay, that sounds weird, but you get the point! The peppers hit every sensor point….front end heat, middle of the palate, back of the throat, slow crawl, quick draw, you name it, it’s there type of heat! Probably a 4 Fiery World level heat! But while it lingers a bit, it isn’t so hot that you can’t repeat the experience bite after bite (as long as you aren’t drinking the stuff, but hey, that would be tempting!) And while you have a touch of vinegar tang, it’s tempered by the smooth bourbon note that compliments the chocolate, vanilla, honey and syrup so nicely; The raspberry, plums, and blueberries marry with vodka and the salt, and the cherry and cinnamon tag along for the gloriously hot and wonderful ride! While Dan Norton may carve some stunningly intricate, amazing collector bottle art for Hellfire, The dynamic duo of Merle and Diana match that artistry note for glorious note with this sauce!
Overall Impression: I LOVE THIS SAUCE! It gets a whopping 4 ½ Fiery Worlds – a huge score for this reviewer. I have rarely given any hot and spicy product over 4 Fiery Worlds! This sauce is that good, folks! I would be tempted to give it a full-on 5 Fiery World rating, but it’s a limited release sauce, which pulled it down a tad! This sauce has gone on so many things I can’t list them all. I’ve had the sauce a couple of months, so it’s been in stir fry, fish, veggies, baked potato, pork, chicken, steak (makes a pretty fine steak sauce!), on bread just plain, ice cream (not my fav use, but it worked), eggs, etc etc etc! Surprisingly, no chili! It’s too dang hot in South Louisiana for chili these days. But just wait….it’ll happen, and it’ll be a sweet, spicy party when it happens!
So head on over to Hellfire’s website, www.hellfirehotsauce.com and get this sauce and any of the other fine creations hailing from unsuspecting Lake Geneva, Wisconsin! And when you do, just remember, Ladies and Gentlemen, tell them Chilehead Ken sent you and yes……It’s a Fiery World!