Review: Naga Snake Bite Private Reserve & Naga Concentrate
So let me start out this review by saying, this may be the first ever hot sauce review to be aired on television sets across the globe. You see, it arrived on Wednesday of this week, just in time to take part in the TV shoot that we did on Thursday night. Mark sent over 1 of each of the sauces, The Extreme Heat, the Private Reserve and his latest, Naga Concentrate. Since Passow just did a review of the extreme heat, we’ll skip over that and go for the hotter ones.
A Snake Bite Threesome
“Like Drinking Cobra Venom”
Up Close Look at Snake Bite Private Reserve
Ingredients: Onions, Carrots, Tomatoes, Vinegar, Naga Morich, Red Chiles, Ginger, Sugar, Red Bell Peppers, Garlic, Olive Oil, Salt.
Now, as I said, we tried this sauce on Thursday night with much trepidation from the group. We even had the Defcon Creator saying no way at one point. Truth be told we were all scared of the fury that these sauces pack, but get a bunch of chileheads in a group and eventually even the girls will try the hottest stuff you’ve got. We started the Naga sampling with the Extreme Heat version & the consensus from the group on that one was that it wasn’t much hotter then your average habanero hot sauce. Once we passed that bottle around the table, we immediately took things up a notch to the Private Reserve version.
The smell of all these sauces is one of freshness – a peppery aroma without paying homage to any one pepper in particular. They all smell hot – with the Naga concentrate burning off a few nose hairs.
The group will agree with me on this one (and we have all of this on video as well) – we were expecting much hotter. But let me caveat that – what we were expecting was an intense frontal heat, which is not at the essence of a Naga. Anyone that has tried a Naga or a Naga sauce knows that they are slow builders – whose afterburn heat levels double if not quadruple the frontal heat. Since these sauces are built around the Naga, that’s exactly what these little bottles of pain deliver. In fact, the burn on the Private Reserve is so slow, you could make the mistake of eating too much of it too soon, before the heat has time to build.
Look at all that Naga!
After sitting a few days in the fridge, you can see how much separation occurred – but just give the bottle a good hearty shake and it’ll be fine. But one suggestion for Mark, the consistency of the Private Reserve makes it damn near impossible to get out of the bottle – might be best served in a jar form or blended a bit more.
A breakfast of champions – leftover nacho fixings from Cinco De Mayo topped with a fried egg and Naga Snake Bite Private Reserve. In order to get a more accurate test of the length of the afterburn, I timed the burn from the start of breakfast to the point in which I felt that the burn had comfortable subsided. 54 minutes of burning! And the crescendo of the burn occurred at about the 23 minute marker (after finishing breakfast) – that’s when I started to tear up and the nose started to run. The flavor of Naga Private Reserve is fantastic for those that love pure pepper flavored sauce – yes, I can taste the sweetness the ginger & carrots leave behind, but the Nagas, red chilies and bell peppers really take over and drive home the fact that this sauce is all about the peppers.
Pure Naga, Pure Evil
Ingredients: Naga Morich, Cider Vinegar, French Sea Salt
So after trying the Private Reserve on Thursday night, we all sat back and enjoyed the burn for a little while and then we immediately reached for the Naga Concentrate. After all, we were already burning so it was time to just let it build. So we decided to try the Naga Concentrate straight up – we all reached for our spoons and on the count of 3, we each tried some of the pepper concentrate. 4 guys and 2 girls lived to tell the tale of the tasting of the Naga Concentrate, but we each walked away with a different take on it. the Ex & Maggie wanted to kill us – but then the Ex did concede that her cold had cleared up. Lars & Amir were pretty quiet with Lars sweating away next to me. The Creator and I both reached for another spoon to make sure we got enough and that goes to show you how far gone our taste buds are.
Smell wise – well, this stuff stinks. But that’s nothing new or am I the only one that thinks Nagas stink in any form? Dried, concentrated or fresh, Nagas have always smelled a little funky to me. And frankly, if this concentrate didn’t smell a little funky, I might doubt it’s authenticity. The initial burn with the concentrate wasn’t any hotter then it was with the Private Reserve, but the afterburn made me tear up twice as fast – flavor wise, well, it tastes like Nagas (surprise, surprise) – but for those that haven’t tried a Naga yet – think of them as an aged habanero that’s a bit more pissed off.
Overall: Mark has a very, very good first entry into the world of hot sauce making on his hands. Of course, coming from a man with such pepper knowledge, I would expect just as much, but it’s great to see it’s working out for Mark & thechileman.org. If you can, get your hand on a bottle of the Private Reserve & Naga Concentrate and see for yourself just how long the burn lasts.