I am no stranger to the world of Maui Pepper Co. products. In fact, I’ve grown quite familiar with their products over my time with this website, and I have generally rather enjoyed their line of fruit-based sauces. There’s just something about the combination of sweet fruit and glorious heat that comes off as quite tantalizing. You might even say that I look forward to each new chance to try a different Maui Pepper item. And while it fell to my newest colleague to review the company’s Mango Meltdown sauce, I bear him no ill will, because I was entrusted with the X-TREME HEAT version of said sauce. Take that, newbie.
Vinegar, Mangoes, Sugar, Apple Juice, Honey, Habanero, Sea Salt, Natural Spices, Tic Gum
As far as Maui Pepper sauces go, this is pretty standard. You get your fruit, your peppers, and your sweet ingredients, and they all fall pretty much where they typically do. Also, the vinegar is first, as is customary with this brand, so those of you with an aversion to vinegar-based sauces may want to stay away.
Sadly, despite the 1990s-esque “X-TREME” in the name of this sauce, there’s no edgy, sunglasses-wearing, skateboard-riding, no-care-giving pepper guy on the label. Chalk that up to a slight disappointment (read: not really). Anyway, what we have here is a beautiful deep orange sauce. There are a few habanero seeds and specks of fruit in the mix, but it is only slightly pulpy. It is, however, a fairly thick sauce, a trait it has likely inherited from the honey.
Smell and Taste:
Ha-Ha-Habanero! The mighty bite of the gorgeous orange pepper is the first thing to assault my nostrils, and I love it. That’s a surprise, honestly, because the vinegar usually comes first. The mango is in there a little bit, but it is really the pepper that reigns supreme. The balance is a bit better in the flavor, where the mango and sweet notes are more, well, noticeable, but it’s still a predominantly habanero-based sauce.
I’m not complaining at all. The heat level on this sauce represents the habaneros very well, so I’m gladly giving it a Mean. The flavor is also pretty darn good. I would like to have a bit more of a presence from the mangoes, but I fear that such a shift would come at the cost of this beautiful heat. But don’t get me wrong: this is still a delicious sauce. I’m giving it a Nice.
Chicken is my best bet for this one, including a chicken-based salad, though it would probably make some killer shrimp if you’re into that sort of thing. You could even make a great snack by just mixing this with some cream cheese and tossing it on some crackers. I also found myself lamenting my lack of tamales, until my wife reminded me that I have some frozen ones. Score! It’s going to go great on those, too.
I really want to see Maui Pepper Co. experiment with some more unconventional fruit-flavored hot sauces. I’m not talking anything crazy, like a durian-flavored sauce, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them do new things. They have quite the track record as far as I’m concerned, so I am pretty confident they could pull off practically any idea.