I’ve gotten used to receiving food related gifts at Christmas by now, but this year I got something from two of my friends that I’d never heard of before; ‘Smoke Potion’ hot sauce from a company called ‘the Chilli Alchemist’. No, it wasn’t anything to do with mysticism or Fullmetal Alchemist tributes. Rather, it’s a sauce made and sold by a chilli expert from Bristol. I was waiting for an excuse to use it and by sheer coincidence, a shoulder of pork magically appeared last week. Now that it’s just as magically disappeared again along with most of the sauce, I can finally talk about it!
Okay, I admit. Part of the reason it’s taken two months to open is that it just looked so pretty and ornamental! I didn’t want to ruin the wax they’d used to seal it, the effect is fantastic. What I’d been given is one of their ‘apothecary bottles’, which cost £8.50 apiece (sorry Eimear/Phil, I had to know). Normal bottles of their sauces will only set you back £3.99, but the premium you pay for the apothecary style is more than worth it if you know a chilli lover and want to impress them with your gifting skills. Part of me wants to buy all seven flavours and just use them as decorations for my kitchen, but we all know that they would only last for so long.
Taste wise, the Smoke Potion is fairly in line with what you’d expect from a smoky barbecue sauce. It’s not as sweet as your average commercial sauce and it has a nice tang to it. The chipotle chillies take over from there, leading into a low burn toward the middle and back of your mouth. It’s classed as a medium spicy sauce on the Chilli Alchemist website but I personally found it to be on the milder of medium. And of course it’s full of smoky flavour, as the name suggests! It went perfectly with my pulled pork and didn't get lost in the spicing that was already on the meat.
As I mentioned before, the Chilli Alchemist has a range of sauces available on their website with some pretty big hitters on the Scoville scale if anybody is feeling particularly adventurous (try ‘the Everlasting Flame’ or ‘Purus’ at your peril). The man behind it all, Jay Webley, has an obvious passion for peppers and it’s worth noting that many of the chillies used for the sauces are home grown! Do NOT attempt to nick anything edible from this man’s garden.
So with interest in sauce variety growing ever larger (just look at your supermarket's condiment section if you don’t believe me!), it's great to see an independent business like the Chilli Alchemist adding a bit of spice to the market. I'm looking forward to trying some of their other sauces so this probably won't be the last you'll hear of them from me, especially since I've just noticed they're also experimenting with ice cream and popping candy! Whatever next?