Today I was the proud recipient of a giant box o’ goodies, courtesy of our glorious bald leader. Like other shipments, this box was filled with spicy products from manufacturers across the country, as well as packing peanuts for my cats and infant son to find two weeks after I could have sworn I’d thrown them away. The joys of cat ownership and parenthood aside, though, I decided to approach things a bit differently with this package. Normally I take a systematic approach, selecting products carefully each week in order to create some sense of balance in terms of both brand and style. Not so with this one. I’m taking a spin on the proverbial Wheel of Fortune and letting Destiny herself decide the order in which I consume and review these products. First up on this date with Lady Destiny is Adoboloco’s Jalapeno sauce, a product that comes to us all the way from Wailuku in Maui, Hawaii.
Distilled Apple Cider Vinegar, Jalapeno Peppers, Sea Salt, Garlic
You don’t get much simpler than that, folks. With only four ingredients, and no ugly chemicals to boot, Adoboloco’s Jalapeno sauce wins a nonexistent award for Simplest Product. If you’re a regular Fiery Friday reader, you know how much I like that. You also know, though, that I routinely comment when a sauce places too much emphasis on the vinegar base, and I’m afraid that may be the case with this one as well.
This sauce’s appearance doesn’t take any steps to deny my suspicions. Though it packs a Jalapeno Green color (sure to be the next idea for Crayola), it also carries the typical thinness of a vinegar-based sauce. In fact, this is easily the thinnest sauce I’ve reviewed in recent memory, and it has already dripped onto my lap numerous times. There is some evidence of the sea salt settling on the bottom, and a vigorous shake gets the particles moving around, but ultimately does little to alleviate the lack of viscosity.
Smell and Taste:
The good news is that the jalapeno smell at least attempts to fight the otherwise powerfully pungent odor of the vinegar. Actually, there isn’t really any bad news, unless you just hate the smell of vinegar. The flavor is also a pretty simple blend of the two, with hints of garlic in the background. This is not a complex sauce for foodies to mimic wine-snobbery when discussing, but it is serviceable
Honestly, I’ve gotten more spice out of a bell pepper. The jalapenos, while evident in the smell and flavor profile, are simply too diluted by the vinegar to have any real lasting heat. That’s a shame, because I was looking forward to a good jalapeno-based sauce with decent heat. I’m giving it a Mild. On a similar note, the flavor itself just isn’t strong enough for my liking. It isn’t bad by any means (again, unless you hate vinegar), but there simply isn’t enough of it. Jalapenos have a great flavor, and go so well with a wide variety of foods, but they simply are not given a chance in this sauce. This one’s a Neutral.
Adoboloco’s Jalapeno sauce isn’t bad for people who need a low-heat splash to liven up their food. If you must use this sauce, though, you’ll want to use quite a lot of it in order to get a good sense of the flavor. Unfortunately, it is so thin that you’ll likely wind up with a mess on your hands… and on your lap… and on your floor…
You know those “hot sauce” gift sets with colorful cartoony labels you can buy at certain stores? And you know how those sauces promise intense heat, but only deliver a splash of spicy vinegar? This is kind of like that, although at least this jalapeno variety doesn’t really promise any “XXX-TREME” levels of danger. I did receive a matching habanero sauce, though, and it looks pretty similar.
I’m going to throw this out there for anyone from Adoboloco who might be reading. You do not have a bad idea here. In fact, I love your list of ingredients, and I appreciate the way a good vinegar base can add to a sauce. Where I think you’ve gone wrong is with the ratio. There’s just way too much vinegar in this stuff, to the point that it prevents the jalapenos from coming through. You could easily change up your ratio and give the peppers more priority, creating a strong jalapeno-based sauce that is still mild enough for the average consumer’s palate. You don’t have to take this advice, of course, but if you do experiment with your creations and change things up, I will gladly give it another look. In the meantime, I promise I will give the Habanero variety its own fair and unbiased review.