Welcome back to Fiery Friday, folks! Tonight’s review is the stuff of legend. At least, that’s what the label says. I’m talking specifically about Legendary SMOK Brand Hot Pepper Sauce, a sauce from the veteran-owned and Colorado-based SMOK Brand (go figure). I like the tagline on the bottle: “Where there’s SMOK…,” so hopefully that suggestive promise there doesn’t let me down!
Apple Cider Vinegar, Habanero Pepper, Bhut Jolokia Pepper, Xanthan Gum
With only four ingredients, this is definitely one of the shortest lists I’ve ever encountered on a hot sauce bottle. Even better, that means that half of the ingredients are hot peppers! There’s definitely something to like about that.
SMOK hot sauce is a bit more of a dark red compared to your standard sauce. It is also on the thin side. My bottle has pepper seeds resting at the bottom, and a vigorous shake of the container does mix the contents a bit, but the seeds settle fairly quickly.
Smell and Taste:
While I can definitely smell the peppers (mainly the habanero), the vinegar far outstrips any other scent coming out of the orifice reducer. I’m okay with that, because I tend to like vinegary sauces. This one, however, tastes far more vinegary than anything I’m used to. Sure, the pepper flavor is there, but only barely.
We like to joke that a certain leading mass-market hot sauce is little more than “spicy vinegar.” If that’s the case, then SMOK Brand hot sauce is deadly vinegar. This stuff is frickin’ hot. I’m giving it a Madness. Now, that heat rating would be fantastic if the pepper flavor matched the pepper heat. Unfortunately, this sauce really misses out on the chance to have a great habanero/jolokia combo. The kick is most certainly there, but the fruity habanero and smokey jolokia simply aren’t. I’m giving this one a Neutral.
If you absolutely need a spicy vinegar, consider picking this one up. However, if you want actual flavor with your sauce, there are many, many other options at all spice levels.
Sadly, this legend has been grossly exaggerated.