Tabanero Hot Sauce is a fairly new sauce from CDS Hot Sauce in Boca Raton, Florida, and made in the State of Tabasco in Mexico, not far from the Yucatan Peninsula. I received a couple of review samples from Michael Paul of CDS recently, and here is what I found.
Its name comes form its 2 principal pepper ingredients, Tabasco, and Habanero, peppers. Tabasco being famous for growing upside down (it does you know, the pepper points up!) ... well ... and there is another Hot Sauce that uses that name, too. You may recall it. Habanero is famous, of course, for being Really Hot, but otherwise has a delicate flavor.
According to CDS, they wanted to make a Hot Sauce with no vinegar, and to get away from the traditional flavored vinegar style sauce, so they chose Lime as the acid ingredient, and to give it brightness.
Tabanero has a fairly mainstream label on a bigger than usual 8 oz bottle, appears light orange with some little red and other bits and appears thickish. Open the bottle, and there is a fairly strong lime citrus aroma with a hint of pepper spiciness.
Ingredients: Habanero and Tabasco Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Key Lime Juice, Agave Nectar, Garlic, Salt, Grapefruit Extract.
Hmmm ... Grapefruit Extract ... well, it's supposed to be good for you. I guess. And CDS wanted to make an all Natural sauce so they use, um ... all natural ingredients.
The inclusion of carrot, onion, and lime might lead you to believe this is a Caribbean style sauce, but in flavor it is not, nor is it in the familiar Mexican style of a Cholula, for instance. See Cholula reviews in this blog.
It is not a super hot sauce despite the inclusion of Habanero, and the 1/4 teaspoon to the tongue test reveals a strong lime flavor with a sour, mainly Tabasco pepper flavored heat that lingers for a good minute or so. This is not a complex sauce, but it is pleasant, not at all salty, with just a bit of carrot-onion sweetness in the background. It is not a sweet sauce, agave nectar or not, nor is it salty.
Due to the strong lime flavor, I would not recommend Tabanero for use with foods that would not benefit from the sour-citrusiness of the sauce, such as, say, a bacon cheeseburger, but OK, prove me wrong. It is good with foods that go well with a traditional Louisiana style sauce, because it is bright, so fried foods are a yes, as is fish, chicken, and the like. It was fun and good on fried catfish, and a turkey and avocado sandwich.
In short, Tabanero is an interesting sauce as an alternative to a typical Louisiana sauce and substitutes the lime flavor for the vinegar. The Tabasco pepper in the sauce does not have the aged Tabasco flavor of Tabasco Brand sauce itself. If I were to quibble with the flavor profile, I would say it is a little too much balanced toward the Lime-acid, and not enough in the Tabasco pepper direction, but, hey, that's me.
Recommended. Especially for seafood, fried food, and lighter fare.
Yours in Flavor and Heat,
Photo Credits: CDS Hot Sauce website, www.tabanero.com
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