In the first (and hopefully many) installments of Adventures in Hot Sauce, we discuss the most notable and recognized brand throughout the United States (I wouldn’t know about other countries because I’m not a worldly person): Tabasco® brand Pepper Sauce.
But first, we need to define what I call a “hot sauce” since this is the first post. Merriam-Webster defines hot sauce as “a pungent condiment sauce made from hot peppers”. The word pungent, to me, has a negative connotation to it. The word “sharp” litters the definition of pungent. Hot sauce doesn’t need to be “sharp”. Sure, you can get those sauces that even if you get too close, it stings the olfactory senses and permeates to behind your eyeballs. But some have a smooth aroma to them. So, by that particular part of the definition, I disagree. As for the word “condiment”, I agree. “Hot sauces” that claim to be glazes or additives (due to heir high-capsaicin level), I do not claim to be under the hot sauce banner. A sauce should be added at the moment before consumption, or cooked into the main product in which you are consuming. So don’t try and get me to review a 16mil Scoville rated, pure capsaicin crystal additive. I will not do it. And lastly, the hot peppers. I don’t care if the hot sauce has peppers in it or not, just as long as it registers on the Scoville scale. In which, the hot sauce needs to have some capsaicin in it, which I believe only comes from plants of the genus Capsicum. I guess if the capsaicin was chemically extracted or synthetically made and then added to a sauce without peppers, that would be OK with me. Purists begin your hissing and booing now. Now, on to the main event. If you are keeping score, we are adventuring into Tabasco®s original red pepper sauce.
Remember that video from a Super Bowl 20 years ago? I hate to say it, but I think the marketing worked on me. I wanted to try some Tabasco® and when I did, my usage of hot sauces expanded over the next couple of years. Now from what I remember back in those days about Tabasco®’s taste, it had a pleasant bite to it and gave a nice kick to most foods you added it to. Eggs, meat, vegetables, soup, anything really (except for things like candy or alcohol … I’m looking at you Sriracha). Since that time, 20 years ago, I have tried numerous other sauces, but had more recently come back to the old staple. My humble beginnings. Unfortunately, it’s not at all like I remembered it.
I’m sure over the past 20 years, my taste buds have changed. But the taste had changed so much in my brain that I actually looked on the internet for a possible explanation. Did someone else register this change and voice it? Was there a situation similar to the “New Coke” and “Coke Classic” fiasco that I missed in my time away from Tabasco®? I couldn’t find anything. Granted it was only about 10 minutes of searching, but that should be enough to register something this important, right? I can hear you saying,
“Well, get on with it you damn fool !! What did it taste like? How was it different?” The Tabasco® that I tasted today seemed, quite vinegary. Now I know that one of the main ingredients is vinegar and that I should expect to taste vinegar. But this taste was way too overpowering. I could taste very little else. Then I thought, OK, maybe this particular bottle was different. Was it sitting on the shelf at the grocery store too long in direct sunlight? Something had to explain it. But the same taste existed in another bottle. Maybe it’s been there the entire time and I just didn’t care or notice 20 years ago. Some people on the internet mentioned that the taste has been the same since the beginning. So my only conclusion is as I mentioned, I have changed my tastes.
Sorry to say to the Tabasco® family, but I’ve moved on. Perhaps in the future I will come back. But as for right now, that overwhelming (to me) vinegar taste is not for me. I am grateful for the start that you gave me in giving my taste a bit of zing and prepping me for the future I currently enjoy. You will not be forgotten.
Rating: of 5