What Makes a Good Hot Sauce Review?

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Have you ever read about a particular hot sauce and wondered, is this thing worth trying? Or have you heard another person describe a sauce but contemplated, do they have the same taste as me?

We’ve all had the same problem – yet another hot sauce pops up on our newsfeed or while we’re scrolling through Amazon, and the question comes up – is this even fucking good?

Enter the Spicy Addict Hot Sauce Review.

The Spicy Addict Hot Sauce Review 

How can you can really know if you’ll like a hot sauce just by reading or hearing about it? There’s a million and one opinions on the internet, and not only is it impossible to sort through all of them – it’s impossible to know what is credible or not.

In an effort to overcome these challenges, we’ve formulated a review process that removes the subjectivity and guesswork of sauce reviews and focuses on objective, universal characteristics that you can use to compare and contrast with your personal preferences.

It is our pleasure to present to you the Spicy Addict Review Process.

An Overview of Our Hot Sauce Review Process

The Spicy Addict Team follows these repeatable steps when reviewing a hot sauce:

  • We start by listing out all of the ingredients found in the sauce.  This gives us an immediate sense of the flavors we may begin to notice.
  • As each flavor emerges, we rate them one-by-one across six standard categories for objectivity: 
    • Sweet
    • Tangy
    • Savory
    • Peppery
    • Salty
    • Smoky
  • When rating each category, we use a simple 4-point scale from 0-3.
    • 0 – none
    • 1 – slight
    • 2 – moderate
    • 3 – intense 
  • Then, we list the order in which we notice the flavors as we taste the sauce. For instance, maybe the tanginess comes first followed by a little sweetness, and finally the flavors of peppers and spices.
  • And, finally, we have to determine how HOT the hot sauce actually is:
    • Mild
    • Medium
    • Hot
    • Extra Hot
    • Insane

A Sample Spicy Addict Review

Here’s an example of what one of these reviews might look like:

Bootlikker Hot Sauce

Ingredients: Cayenne Peppers, Vinegar, Tequila, Jalapeno Peppers, Garlic, Onions, Water, Salt, Spices, Citric Acid, Soybean Oil

Here’s our Flavor Profile Breakdown in order of flavor occurrence.

(0-None, 1-Slight, 2-Moderate, 3-Intense)

Savory: 2
Tangy (Vinegar): 3
Peppery: 3
Salty: 2
Sweet: 0
Smoky: 0
Other Highlights: n/a

Heat Level: HOT

Why Do Spicy Addict Reviews Work So Well?

There’s a reason why our audience sees our Spicy Reviews as some of the most objective – and useful – on the internet.

Let’s say that you like tangy sauces that are cayenne pepper-based with lots of spices and flavors, but you aren’t a fan of smoky or sweet sauces.

To start, you can quickly see from the review’s ingredient list that the sauce is made with cayenne peppers.  You also have the ability to filter hot sauces on the website by pepper type: for instance, cayenne.

Next, to judge alignment with your personal tastes, you can look to see that the sauce rates higher (2 or 3) in those categories you enjoy: Tangy, Savory, and Peppery (if you really like that cayenne pepper flavor). You would also look to see that the sauce rates low (0 or 1) in categories that you don’t enjoy: Smoky and Sweet.

Immediately you can determine whether there is a high likelihood you will enjoy this sauce.

Finally, we list the flavor categories in the order in which they are noticed when you taste the sauce.  This is a more nuanced aspect of the Spicy Addict Review and it’s intended to help you recreate the experience of actually tasting the sauce. 

Oh – and don’t forget, you get an idea of the heat with our 5 level scale: Mild, Medium, Hot, Extra Hot, Insane. For many Spicy Addicts, that can make or break a sauce.

Elevating The Hot Sauce Review

Spicy Addict is also focused on adding longer descriptions to our reviews as a way to more comprehensively convey each of the sampled sauces to our audience.  These extended reviews contain all of the information described in the standard review above, but also contain a more lengthy qualitative description of the hot sauce flavors and experience.  While they add more detail to the overall review they are still written very objectively, specifically referencing ingredients and how they lend themselves to the six standard rating qualities: Sweet, Tangy, Savory, Peppery, Salty, and Smoky.  

Our extended reviews may also include some subjective comments about the food the sauce may pair well with.  While this strays a bit from the objectivity goal of our review process, it’s not really a direct commentary on the hot sauce itself but instead an exploration of its potential usage, and we have found that our audience appreciates this guidance.

For instance, for Horseshoe Brand’s Kiwi Jalapeno Hot Sauce, we give a description of the distinct flavors and qualities that make this sauce unique:

Kiwi Jalapeno Hot Sauce from Horseshoe Brand is a verde sauce is absolutely packed full of flavors and each hits you in what tastes like a quick but orderly procession. It starts with a moderate tartness from both vinegar and citrus followed by a fairly robust saltiness. Then the tartness fades to a gentle sweetness as aspects of the kiwi fruit and agave nectar build and mellow out the vinegar. Next, the foundational flavor of the jalapeno pepper mash becomes clear, followed by onion and garlic which round out the flavor and add additional complexity.

The kiwi adds citrus and sweetness while not overly noticeable as on it’s own. Still it likely adds a unique quality that would otherwise be missing.

This sauce would go well on lighter foods like chicken and fish but should be considered for anything that you would typically reach for a verde sauce to compliment (especially those tacos). It’s light in heat which we rank around a 1.5 on a 5-point heat scale.

You can read all of our reviews on our Products and Reviews Page – let us know your thoughts and which sauces are your favorites!

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