Thursday, April 1, 2010
Scorpion Chilli Habanero Extract: Habanero perfection, pure and concentrated
All the way from Fremantle, West Australia comes Scorpion Chilli (yes, with two L's...we just have one here in Chili-ville, USA). Their slogan: "Hot in...Hot Out!" Yes, the connection between hot sauce/farting/traumatic bathroom experiences is in fact an international language. Yet beyond the simple jokes and loveably combative mascot lies a hot sauce company with humble roots, knowledge of intricate craft, and phenomenal flavors.
Let's Look at the Facts: With the (not so subtle) joke slogan and gun-toting, wild eyed scorpion mascot (their other flavors have the scorpion doing different things, like throwing lightning or holding a giant penis [sauce: Morning Glory]), this company seems lewd and crude. In fact, it's more like a "mouse that roared" situation; run by Dave, a social worker and high school principal, and his partner Hannah, a university student and youth volunteer, this company actually helps empower primary school students by getting them involved in their hot sauce business. As an educator myself, I can say honestly that students applying themselves in real-world businesses while still in school is a fantastic idea and boosts student attention, morale, and confidence needed to make the critical transitions from to the real world post-graduation. Dave's a knowledgeable and likable guy. He, like other hot sauce sites, understands the joys of sharing on Youtube:
Oh yes, they make hot sauce too.
The first sauce I sampled was the Habanero Concentrate, which made me nervous because I assumed I was going to be eating, well, pure extract of a habanero. Not so; the velvety yellow-orange sauce is sweet, flavorful, and absolutely packed with heat. It's about as close to habanero perfection as you can get.
Good Hurts: This sauce is really, really hot. It will leave your lips and tongue burning and your nose running for its life. It will leave the sides of your mouth and gums tingling. It is, I believe, as close as you can get to a flavorful hot sauce with crazy heat as you can get before the heat starts to overtake the flavor dramatically. And Scorpion Chilli has a soft spot for the dramatic; of the sauces they make that I have tried, this isn't even close to being the hottest. Typical to chilihead sauces made for--and by--chilheads, Scorpion Chili uses goofy images and jokes to catch attention of hot freaks, knowing that they are trying something really hot. Normal people need not apply...this sauce is that hot.
Flavor: I believe I have formed some sort of wonderful Pavlovian relationship to this sauce; when I unscrew the large red cap, my mouth begins to water and my heart pounds in anticipation. It's not the heat that does this--it's the flavor. Sweet but not too sweet; Rich but almost devoid of calories; Slight notes of salt that are awash in habanero citrus heat. This sauce just tastes so damn good. The locally grown habaneros, lime juice, and ginger mask the tomato and garlic but they don't cover it completely. Sugar rounds out the sweetness. I just tried some amazing habenero sauces from Marie Sharp's that were less sweet and more garden savory, and this sauce is on the same level. What makes this flavor so special? Habaneros are the showcase of this sauce. There are no frills or goofy secondary flavors, no enhancers or preservatives. The other flavors only work to showcase the habanero. In a world of runny, discolored sauces based on possibly the most over-exposed pepper in the world, this is truly the cream of the crop.
Availability: As a grass roots, community-based hot sauce in Australia, you gotta believe that this sauce isn't going to be easy to find in grocery stores on this half of the planet. However, their sauces have won a number of awards, including some internationally. Ordering this sauce is not just helping a growing business...it's helping you get some unique and amazing stuff! Here's their sauces section, the best place to find their sauces in the whole wide world.
Good for: Scorpion Chilli mastermind Dave and I seem to have similar domestic situations: younger girlfriends in higher ed universities who like hot sauce but don't obsess about it like we do. In a must-mention twist, I actually caught my girlfriend pouring some of this sauce into a pineapple salsa because she liked the flavor! I put it on chips, burritos, and, well, peanut butter sandwiches. It's sweet but not overpoweringly so, and it's hot as hell. If you can think of anything that would be good with the citrus burn of habanero, this sauce is great for it.
My Review: 9.6/10
If you have to search the whole wide world, a sauce like this made by a team with so much passion and dedication, so many community ties, and such a feel-good story is rare. This is one of my top habanero sauces, full of rich flavor and serious heat. Keep your eye on this rising company!