Producer: Ashley Foods
Price: 5oz: ~$9.00
Ingredients: Vinegar, evaporated cane juice, Ghost Pepper, fresh Habanero peppers, garlic, onion, Peri Peri peppers, spices and xanthan gum
Appearance: Medium brown, smooth, peppery, medium thickness
Aroma: At the forefront is a combination vinegar and molasses, followed by black pepper and smoky notes that quickly build to a slight burnt smell, reminiscent of low-end Chipotle sauces. Slight BBQ sauce smell due to the cane juice.
Taste: A combination of vinegar and molasses hits immediately, but is quickly overtaken by the slightly bitter flavor of burned peppers. Between the black pepper and burnt character it is difficult to find the Jolokia, with the Habanero character standing out more than the Jolokia pepper in this sauce. The heat hits to the back of the mouth and top of the throat, building quickly but not maintaining the long build associated with fresh Jolokia, and not building to the level experienced in some other Jolokia sauces. This leaves us to wonder if Jolokia powder (famous for being burned during kiln drying) was used in this sauce as opposed to fresh Jolokia peppers. Make no mistake, this sauce is hot, but the heat level falls slightly short of some other Jolokia sauces, and is certainly not excrutiating. The heat stays around for several minutes, although at a quickly decreasing level.
Heat: On a 1-10 scale, the Mad Dog Pure Ghost Hot Sauce is about an 8.5. There are some slightly hotter sauces around without extract, and certainly several much hotter with extract. However, on a non-extract sauce, this is nearing the potential upper limit.
Conclusion/General Comments: This was certainly not one of our favorite sauces, and falls on the lower half of our list of preferences. While it is a meaty sauce, the burnt character detracts from an otherwise complex sauce. Had this been made with fresh Jolokia it could have easily doubled its overall score, and become a real winner. The Mad Dog Pure Ghost Hot Sauce is proof that an otherwise stellar sauce can be ruined by a single shortcut. Given the specific character of this sauce, it would be best suited on steaks and red meats, and could not be used as an all-purpose sauce.
Heat: 8.5 Flavor: 4