Posted February 17, 2007 by John in Reviews

Review: Sweet Sunshine Atomic Sauce

Sweet Sunshine Atomic 1When I first tried this sauce, I didn’t know what to expect. The label advertises “Caution: Very Hot!” but also touts flavor before fire. Is this a burner, or exaggerated advertising? Only time will tell. The packaging is very similar to my review of the Warm Garlic and Shallot sauce I had reviewed previously; as before, I’m not a huge fan of the look. But, that aside, my previous experience with Sweet Sunshine was good enough that I was eagerly anticipating testing this one.

Ingredients: Sugar, Water, Vinegar, Ripe Red Savina Habanero Peppers, Mustard Seed, Ancho Peppers, Corn Syrup, Cayenne Peppers, Habanero Peppers, Molasses, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Worcestershire sauce, Natural Flavors, Onion, Spices, less than 1/10 of 1% sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate.

The smell is of red savinas, which is a fantastic welcome to any sauce. That’s mixed with a whiff of vinegar and a blast of sweetness. The scent doesn’t raise any heat alarm. But, taking a few drops, the first thing that’s obvious is this sauce packs a nice punch. One thing I like about Sweet Sunshine in general: truth in advertising! Their Warm sauce can best be described as warm, and their Atomic deserves a caution label, as it’s much hotter than most people like. It’s probably even be much for the medium-loving chilihead; though if you tend to bathe your food in Mega Death, the heat won’t bother you a bit.

Through the grapevine (and after I tasted it) I saw this sauce described to me as “~100,000 scoville.” Not to mince ratings; I understand that different heats come across differently. But I put this in a taste test next to Dave’s Original Insanity and Blair’s After Death. It didn’t match the heat of either of those offerings, and they’re tested at ~50,000 SHU. But, on the plus side, Sweet Sunshine gives a solid burn with absolutely no chemical, extract taste.

The flavor is a mixed blessing. The heat is nice, and as I mentioned before, it’s a natural, Red Savina heat rather than an extract fueled fire. The Red Savina taste is well pronounced, and the vinegar is well balanced. But there is a lot of sweetness; sugar is the first ingredient, and it’s the most prevalent flavor. To my taste, the flavor profile is a bit out of whack. I just don’t care for the blend of sweetness and heat – the excess of sugar detracts from the rest of the flavor medley. All in all, the flavor profile just isn’t what I’d hope it to be.

Sweet Sunshine Atomic 2

On Food
After searching for uses of a scorchingly hot sweet sauce, I turned to a plate of ham and eggs. I applied a decent amount, and set to work. I built up a nice little sweat, though nothing too uncomfortable. The meal confirmed the heat level for me: a good level for someone who likes things hot, and way to much for the chili-novice.

All in all, it made for a palatable, hot way to start the day. Sweet Sunshine’s Atomic sauce doesn’t make my list of favorite breakfast sauces, but it’s passable. It would probably also be good used as a barbecue sauce, and anything else where a lot of heat and sweetness is desired.

Packaging – Bright, Gaudy and Confusing. 5.0 out of 10.0
Aroma – Red Savina and sugar. 7.0 out of 10.0
Appearance – thick, dark and saucy. 8.5 out of 10.0
Taste – Overly sweet and unbalanced. 6.5 out of 10.0
Heat – Hot as a low-end extract sauce with none of the extract flavor. 8.5 out of 10.0

Overall Rating: 6.7 out of 10.0
– Plenty of heat, but too much sugar spoils the flavor profile.

Sweet Sunshine