The latest Hot Ones Hot Sauce Box has been delivered to the PepperGeek mailbox. Inside, we found 3 familiar sauces. Only they were different…
We’re talking about the 3 all-new sauces released by Hot Ones. They are essentially mashup versions of their existing lineup, where pepper varieties were swapped between sauces. These three include:
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- The Last Dab: Chile De Arbol Edition
- Los Calientes: Rojo Red Jalapeno Edition
- The Classic: Pepper X Edition
We’re lucky to have already been subscribed to the Hot Ones Hot Sauce Box. In this article, I’ll discuss my thoughts on the new labels, the changes in flavor, heat levels, and more for each new hot sauce.
Watch Our Video Unboxing & Taste Test!
The Last Dab: Chile De Arbol Edition
For this sauce, the Chile de Arbol pepper was taken from The Classic and put into The Last Dab. Perhaps the most highly anticipated hot sauce in the box, the Last Dab with a mild spice level. This sauce is different than expected. The label resembles the Reaper edition Last Dab with bright yellows and reds. The only change to the ingredients list is the peppers. However, they are the first ingredient in the sauce, so the overall flavor and heat have changed dramatically.
Texture is chunkier than the original Last Dab sauces. The Chile de Arbol peppers, grown by Smokin’ Ed Currie (creator of the Carolina Reaper and Pepper X Peppers), are rough-chopped rather than minced. Despite being chunkier, it is somehow more pourable and thinner than the other Last Dab products. This makes it easier to get a precise serving from the bottle. However, the chunky sauce does take some chewing.
Flavor is starkly different than both the Reaper and Pepper X edition sauces. This Chile De Arbol Last Dab has a mustard and cumin forward flavor, but the peppers are somehow more rich and savory.
Flavor notes: Ginger, sweet peppers, cumin, mustard.
Heat is reduced significantly. It seems even less spicy than the Hot Ones Classic. The sauce is rated as a 2/10 on the bottle, and I think that’s generous. This won’t be a sauce to use for spicing up meals, but rather for adding a nice mustardy, savory flavor.
Overall Thoughts: The Last Dab Chile De Arbol was the most surprising out of the three new Hot Ones sauces (though the Classic Pepper X Edition was also a trip). The flavor is wildly different, but familiar all the same. The choice to keep the peppers roughly chopped makes this a great, chunky sauce for adding to stir fry, omelets or Indian food.
Los Calientes Rojo: Red Jalapeno
The least different, and yet still my favorite, Los Calientes Rojo Red Jalapeno edition is a wonderful recipe. We at PepperGeek love The Original Los Calientes. We have spare bottles ready in our pantry at a moment’s notice. It is the perfect combination of heat, tang and tropical flare that makes any food simply taste better. So how does the sauce change with the replacement of serranos with smoked red jalapenos?
For the better.
Texture is almost identical to the original Los Calientes. The only detectable variation is the color of the sauce. The serrano and jalapeno are similar peppers in terms of wall thickness and density, so it makes sense that the pepper-swap wouldn’t affect the texture too much.
Flavor is incredible. I think the reason that this sauce tastes better than the original is that the jalapenos are:
- Ripe (all the way to red)
Smoking anything in the recipe is going to bring out a new character in the flavor, let alone the first ingredient in the sauce. Plus, when a jalapeno is ripened all the way until it turns red, it becomes both sweeter and hotter. This combination is delightful in the new Los Calientes recipe, and I hope it is here to stay.
Flavor notes: Smoked peppers, sweet citrus, apple.
Heat is comparable to the original Los Calientes. Smoked red jalapenos are essentially chipotle peppers. However, the addition of (probably more) habaneros offsets the heat to keep it at a claimed 5/10 on the heat scale. To most hot sauce lovers, this will be the perfect level of heat for repeated and frequent use.
Overall Thoughts: If Hot Ones makes just one of these sauces in the future, we want it to be this one. Though it is the least drastic change in flavor, the sauce could almost not be improved. We’re truly geeking out about Los Calientes Red Jalapeno edition!
The Classic: Pepper X Edition
Finally we reach the daunting Classic Pepper X Edition hot sauce. The new label looks like something the mafia might have designed, and the contents are similarly fearsome. When I first tasted this, I was wary. I put a small dab on a spoon and had the milk on standby as needed. I was surprised to find that it wasn’t as punchy as the Last Dab Triple X. However, it is thin (like the original Classic), so one must be careful not to over-do it.
Texture is, as stated above, thin. It is almost as thin as a Frank’s RedHot or Cholula, but not quite. It has more flecks and pieces of the ingredient list visibly suspended in the sauce. I would have liked to see a dasher top with this sauce to help meter out portions, but I guess we’ll just have to have steady hands.
Flavor is not what we expected. The Classic Pepper X Edition tastes almost exactly how it tastes when you bite directly into a super-hot pepper. If you’ve ever sampled a raw ghost pepper, scorpion pepper, 7-pot or similar, you know the taste. Floral, vibrant, hot. Given that the only ingredient change is the peppers, I was surprised by how stark the flavor had changed. Though I suppose it makes sense, since there are not many ingredients to get in the way of the peppers. It is an enjoyable flavor, but it must be approached with caution.
Flavor notes: Super-hot pepper, floral, garlic.
Heat is fiery, but not quite at the level of the Last Dab Triple X or Reduxx. It builds pretty slowly, where other peppers slap you in the face. This sauce can actually be enjoyed if used properly (and in small enough amounts). We love a good, super hot sauce, and this offers a new take on it.
Overall Thoughts: This is a useable sauce if you like to taste the rawness of a floral, spicy pepper. The flavor is definitely a trigger if you have limits to your spice tolerance, so you’d need some milk ready just in case. I love the untouched pepper flavor, and I’m surprised just how strong the Pepper X Peppers come through the garlic and vinegar.
It is neat when companies do stuff like this. We got this just before Christmas, and it feels like true fan service. We loved the existing lineup of Hot Ones sauces, and trying these three new flavors was a treat we could hardly wait for.
I’m sure more unique experiences like this one will come in future boxes. They have improved the box’s shape and format, and are clearly gearing up to serve more customers.
TLDR: Los Calientes is the best one, Last Dab is oddly mild and chunky, The Classic is fiery and tastes like a raw ghost pepper.