Thu Dec 13, 2012
Not a standard barbecue sauce, Captain Mowatt's Scarlet Blaze ditches the common sweet and smokey tomato flavor in exchange for earthy and fruity pomegranate, paired with an intense heat and sharp tang.
Now that we're in the gift giving seasoning, I thought it was appropriate to give this bottle of Captain Mowatt's Scarlet Blaze a try, which was a present from my Mom after a trip to Maine this past summer. It's always kind of fun unearthing the story behind these random sauces that fall into my hands, and I was all too pleased to learn the tale behind Captain Mowatt's indeed starts with a captain.
Dan Stevens—a former captain on the Casco Bay Lines ferry in Maine—stumbled into the sauce business a bit by accident. Wanting to teach his children a lesson on economics, he bottled some of his homemade hot sauce, then sold it for a small prophet to a local diner in Portland. That auspicious start was in the late 1990s; now he runs a full-fledged sauce business under the name W.O. Hesperus Co., producing 18 hot sauces and 6 barbecue sauce, as well as rubs, marinades, and snacks.
Captain Mowatt's Scarlet Blaze has a very earthy and fruity aroma. The pomegranate is quite strong and pairs with a vinegar tang that sits just underneath the pomegranate base. There's also a fair amount of sweetness, and a clear definition of heat with the smell of pepper being quite distinct.
Thickness & Texture
This earthy red-orange sauce has the apparence of a thinned jelly. The plethora of red pepper visible makes it look akin to a Thai sweet chili sauce. The chili flakes and pieces of pomegranate give it a chunky texture. Those textured chunks fall fast from a suspended spoon, and the rest of the sauce quickly follows, with almost nothing except some small specs of spice left clinging.
Out of the Jar
Pomegranate starts out the flavor profile here, with a heavy sweet fruitiness. As the sauce settles on the tongue, the pomegranate begins to fade as the vinegar comes in and takes over. The sweetness continues until the heat of a ton of chilies starts its total domination. A fleeting sweetness lingers, with just a hint of pomegranate, as the sauce leaves the tongue, but after about ten seconds, the mouth turns to fire. A lingering heat keeps a heavy burn going on the tongue and in the back of the throat.
Slathered & Cooked
This sauce slide off the chicken after brushing, leaving only a thin coat remaining. It required more coatings than average to build up a nice layer of sauce to encase the drumstick. The extra work was all for naught as the chicken quickly burned over direct heat. A lot of the fruity flavor out of the jar was no where to be found after being cooked. The sauce started sweet, then went straight to heat, with the earthy and tangy flavors out of the jar greatly diminished. The combo of a thin coating and loss of flavor made the charred chicken leg taste mostly burnt.
Put to Use
Out of the jar this sauce was different and uncomplicated. The progression of sweet fruit, to vinegar tang, to mouth burning heat was pleasant, although not extraordinary. Unfortunately, it preformed horribly on the grill, losing its pomegranate flavor, tanginess, and burning to the point that an unpleasant char was the defining characteristic. So I wouldn't really label this a grilling sauce, since it's best suited as a condiment. It's not going to give you a barbecue flavor, but if you're after something hot and fruity, it could go well as a dip for chicken, pork, or seafood.