Alrighty ladies and gentlemen, without further ado today we’re digging into the Hot Ones Constrictor Hot Sauce. This is the spiciest sauce on the show, and judging by the first two sauces ‘Brain Burner’ and ‘Eye of the Scorpion’ there’s no way this is going to feel good. In case you haven’t seen those reviews they’re up on YumSizzle here: Brain Burner, Eye of the Scorpion. To summarize, I wasn’t impressed by Brain Burner, it was all work and no play and I was let down by how basic the sauce is (and why it even has Reaper in it). Eye of the Scorpion I enjoyed more, it’s still a super basic sauce but it hits a really nice pain point with the raw scorpion pepper flavor, it’s a sauce I’ll actually use.
Constrictor is frankly a bit terrifying having already tried the other two. I know we’re still in the realm of non-extract sauces (because FUCK extract sauces….pardon my French), but when a label has a trifecta of Carolina Reaper peppers, Carolina Reaper pepper powder, and Carolina Reaper Pepper distillate there’s cause for concern. If you read that and you started laughing like a giddy school girl you should go check into the nearest psych ward. Other than those three ingredients there’s only one other ingredient ‘organic vinegar’. Awesome, so there’s not even an attempt at a complex or compelling flavor profile here, just straight heat with some vinegar to make is a sauce and not just a mash or peppers.
From the label… (props to BJ Betts for the label artwork)
“This triple-threat of Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper peppers, Reaper Powder, and Reaper Distillate (a.k.a. Reaper Blood) squeezes its victims until they beg for mercy. THE CONSTRICTOR is a ferocious beast of a sauce. Try it if you dare!”
I’ll tell you guys a secret, I’m only really trying this sauce because it’s a part of the show. There’s big time novelty value in it and I think people are going to want to know how it tastes, but if I saw this in the store or online there’s a very small likelihood of me purchasing it. That’s mainly because we’re after sauces that taste good. We’re after flavor enhancers (that might also be mind expanders) and this doesn’t seem like it’s going to fit that bill. I’m keeping an open mind…but I’m not optimistic for this one. That being said, this is a hot sauce review so how seriously can I really be taking this?
The answer is really serious because this sauce is 30 FREAKING DOLLARS for one bottle. Smokin’ Ed is over there taking Scrooge McDuck baths while I’m over here with a 3 day ring of fire.
I think we all knew what was coming here…it smells like Reaper peppers. It’s actually a little more mild than I was expecting, but I think that’s due to the lack of garlic in the ingredients which tends to add a little more zing to the smell. There’s not much more to comment on here. My brain wants absolutely nothing to do with putting this in my mouth. Usually (even with the super hot sauces) I get a little excited and buzzed and my mouth starts watering, but with this bad boy I have no idea what that “Reaper Blood” is going to do to my stomach.
Before I taste, The Hot Ones Constrictor Hot Sauce is too thick. I’m holding it upside down and the sauce isn’t sliding down the bottle. It’s been sitting like that for more than 5 minutes with no movement. Even if this is a novelty “let’s make it as spicy as possible” sauce, at least get the texture right, this is disappointing with any sauce but especially from heavy hitters like Heatonist.
Anyway, here we goooooooo.
Oh! It’s sweet. And it hurts. But it’s very sweet. That Reaper burn is such a heavy hitter. There’s not much more here than sweetness and burn. The flavor starts sweet for about 3 seconds, then the heat starts to hit and it slowly builds. It’s honestly not as brutally hot as I was expecting it to be, but I was amping myself up pretty hardcore for this one. This is really just some pure Reaper craziness. This is the opposite of a beginner hot sauce, there’s nothing friendly about it.
There’s a special kind of beauty in the heat of the Reaper pepper as it slowly winds its way through your body. The pain that starts as a sharp burn on your tongue, worms its way down your throat and gets stuck for a little bit simmering at the top of the belly. It’s at this point the Reaper shines. You’re not sure if the burn in your gut, or the burn in your mouth is worse, and it’s the only pepper I find to be completely overwhelming. And then it keeps moving down, and the pain keeps going. That burn in your mouth starts to subside but the pain in your belly just grows. This is a harsh sauce, this is a real world, harsh reality, you overdraft your bank account and got fired hot sauce. The symphony of pain, the sweetness of the flavor, the lasting long linger of the spice that really makes you question “Why did I just eat that?…What is really the reason for any of this?….Where are the tums?….Maybe I should have some more?….”
This is a sauce that doesn’t taste amazing, but it will help you forget about the world for a while. It’s a novelty. I’m never going to put this on food, maybe I’ll put a drop or two into a pot of chili or mix it into a condiment. I doubt I’ll break it out for friends to try something super spicy unless they’re really into the show and want to try it. Would I recommend paying $30 for this? Probably not, but there’s a kind of classic ‘burn your face off, no apologies’ feeling to this sauce that few new sauces make me feel.