Almost 2 months ago I stated I’m starting a quest for the hottest sauces made in New Jersey. As local producers sent me samples to test, I remembered I often care more about flavor than heat, and got distracted a bit from the original goal. But just before the final competition for the best NJ sauces, I might have finally found my answer.
When I received the samples of Blair’s new FF15 Barrel Reserve I didn’t know what to expect. They are famous for the line of Death Sauces, as well as the record-breaking 16 Million Reserve (which achieved the “perfect” Scoville score). Among New Jersey sauciers, they’re by far the best known, nationally and internationally.
The FF15 reserve is their newest product, and they were created and blended by the legendary Blair Lazar himself. The set of 4 sauces comes with a disclaimer stating there is an intense element of danger, and it can only be used at the purchaser’s risk. There’s also something about not to be used as food. I have to admit that for myself, tasting these sauces was the most intense, sweat-producing, nose-running, stinging-tears inducing of all the hot sauce tastings I’ve done this year. So here are the 4 sauces in the collection:
- FF15 Passion is the flagship product. Made with Scorpion, 7 Pot, Jolokia and Fatalii peppers, it was the hottest one. But due to the blending of coconut, mango puree, passion fruit, rum, lime juice and guava nectar it was also the most flavorful. It’s a rare situation where the hottest sauce also has the heaviest flavor. It might burn, but it’s a very pleasant, fruit-infused burn. Blair put a lot of passion in creating this sauce. and it won Best Hot Sauce in our #HotNJ sauce competition on March 28!
- FF15 Soul was the second hottest, after Passion. It seemed to have even more bite (the strongest, I might say), due to a more diffused flavor. Soul is jam-packed with Bhut Jolokia, 7 Pot, Scorpion and Jamaican Hot Chocolate Chili for an extreme chili-head experience. However this was just a personal observation, as Soul won 3rd place in the Flavor category at the #HotNJ competition.
- FF15 Roots was the mildest of the group (if I can say so; it would qualify as hot in any of my other reviews). It has some pretty flavorful peppers (7 Pot Bubblegum, Jolokia, Fatalii, Habanero), with a splash of lime juice for additional flavor.
- FF15 Truth was another pretty hot one. Made with Devil’s Tongue, Habanero, Scorpion and also Rum, Vitamin C and cane sugar, Truth was a tastier sauce than Soul and Roots, even if not that strong.
This is really a special collection that any hot sauce afficionado should try (order it before it sells out, since it’s a limited run!)
For more about Blair’s, the company was started back in 1989 by Highlands, NJ resident Blair Lazar, a bartender at the Jersey Shore, who started mixing his own sauces before incorporating and growing into a variety of sauce lines (besides the original Death sauces, they’ve got After Death, Mega Death, Sudden Death and more). His story about creating the Death Sauce brand is that while bartending, the only way to get the drunks out of the bar at 2am was to offer them a challenge: eat his “wings of death” and stay all night, or otherwise get out. Nobody ever passed his test.
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