In this business, confidence is key. No manufacturer will get anywhere without trusting in the quality of its products. Heck, if there’s one thing at which America as a whole excels, it is confidence. Still, that confidence is not always duly earned, and is frequently misplaced or exaggerated. We see hundreds of sauces claiming to be the hottest or most delicious, and obviously they can’t all be right. Island Time Hot Pepper Sauce makes such a claim, even going so far to say that they know their product is the best sauce available, because they “have tried them all.” Certainly Island Time isn’t lacking in confidence, but I hope this bold statement is more a rightfully-earned claim than empty bravado.
Bell Pepper, Pepperoncini, (peppers, water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, sodium benzoate, sodium bisulphate, yellow #5), Ground Hot Peppers (peppers, water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, natural flavors, xanthan gum, guar gum, sodium benzoate, sodium metabasulphate), Chili Pepper, Simple Syrup (water, cane sugar, lactic acid), Garlic, Sugar, Prepared Mustard (vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, paprika, spice, natural flavors, garlic), Spices
I don’t know about you, but I let out a whistle when I first saw that list. It’s possible that I’ve been spoiled by the simple lists found in many other proudcts I’ve reviewed, but it’s also possible that Island Time Hot Pepper Sauce just has a lot of stuff in it. The biggest disappointment for me, though, is that the label doesn’t really specify what kind of chili peppers are in here, and I know that any heat in this bottle won’t be coming from the bell peppers. Really, who puts bell peppers at the top of a hot sauce ingredients list?
While this sauce does have the traditional orange tint found in most standard sauces, it’s actually surprisingly chunky. There’s practically a salsa-like consistency in here, or at least something similar to a thick spaghetti sauce. It’s not terribly sticky, though, so don’t necessarily expect it to cling to your food so readily.
Smell and Taste:
There’s definitely a pepper smell here. I don’t know what kind of bell peppers went into this bottle (personally, I’m a fan of the colors other than green), but the sweet smell definitely alerts me to their presence. Underneath that, though, there’s a bit of a spice to the overall scent. Most importantly, it still smells natural. The sweetness also pops out immediately, but it does not overpower the hot flavor of whatever chili peppers are present in the sauce.
In fact, I would love to know exactly what sort of peppers are in here, because Island Time Hot Pepper Sauce is surprisingly spicy. That’s likely thanks to the fact that the peppers themselves are more chunk than liquid, meaning they aren’t as diluted by water or vinegar as they might be in other sauces. While this sauce is by no means deadly, chile neophytes might get a rude awakening with this one, so I’ll give it a Mean. The biggest surprise of the day, though, is just how good this stuff is. The jury’s still out on whether it’s truly “the best hot pepper sauce available,” but the fact that I’m still deliberating on that one means I have to give this sauce a Notable rating.
In just a couple of months, it will be winter, and winter in South Texas means it is time for one of my favorite food traditions ever: tamales. Sure, they’re available all year round in pre-packaged fashion at the grocery store, but I want the deliciously deluxe tamales the local businesses churn out around Christmas. And when that time comes, I have the perfect sauce to pour all over those little delicacies. Island Time is based in North Carolina, so I don’t know if they’ve ever considered the applications of their sauce in the field of tamales, but I am absolutely certain of its utility there. Oh, and you can probably put it on a bunch of other stuff as well.
I have no real final word here. I just want some fresh meaty tamales.