Not so Grey

Hello again everyone, it’s time for something silly.

More specifically, this crazy little movie tie-in:

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I was walking through town the other day, looking for a bite to eat, when this peculiar bottle caught my attention from the back shelf of a street food stall.

It was different to the other sauces they had on sale, at least visually, with its largely black and white label standing out surprisingly well against the bold colours of their crazier things like Dave’s and Blair’s.

So I asked to examine it closer and boy was I surprised! I had no idea there was a Fifty Shades hot sauce. Let alone a sequel to go along with the new sequel film.

I was shocked and appalled but also weirdly drawn in. As I suspect may have been the case for much of the main franchise’s audience.

I had to try the sauce, if only as a talking point.

But, while that alone was enough to sell me on this comedy showpiece, the packaging has a little more to it that I feel deserves some recognition.

Like the posters for the first film, this sauce’s label uses the “colour splash” technique to draw the viewer’s attention to the few details highlighted in colour. And, just like the film posters, the one colour in use is a sensual shade somewhere between pink and red.

Unlike in those posters, however, the lips of the blindfolded woman aren’t the star attraction here.

They have enough strength of colour to draw the eye but they also pale in comparison to the last word of the name and the habanero that hangs off it. Because this is where the action is.

Fifty Shades Hotter isn’t about real BDSM, but rather the sensual elements of the enjoyment of food and humanity’s potentially masochistic relationship with chillies. It has all the same base elements as those movie posters but the addition of that one habanero completely changes the context and implies that the underlying action is suggestive chilli consumption, not anything explicit at all.

Not that the various text snippets around the sides of the bottle do anything to hide the sauce’s origins in adult themes.

But there is a third piece of this pinky red that’s just as important. By using what resembles a hasty lipstick scrawl on a bathroom mirror for the last word of its name, this product’s creator cleverly both attracts us to the importance of this being the hotter version and makes the word “Hotter” look like a last minute addition. An afterthought, if you will, subtly but clearly getting across the message that this is an update to an earlier sauce. One known as Fifty Shades of Red.

And yet, while the label gets all this right, the label isn’t the only interesting part of the packaging.

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Yes, despite its very basic bottle shape and size, this appears to be a custom container made specially for this sauce. With how generic it otherwise appears, you’d be forgiven for missing this small detail but there is, in fact, a little heart extruded ever so slightly from the base. A very pleasing touch.

But, while this container and its artwork definitely make for a great gifty item, that’s no good if the sauce inside doesn’t hold up. So it’s time to dig in!

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Right off the bat, the most apparent flavour in here is that of vinegar. Spirit vinegar, I believe. But it’s not the only flavour and the others aren’t exactly subtle, either.

The onions make themselves quite well known and so too does the pepper. A combination of cayenne and black pepper that blends in with the assortment of spices to make a strong spiced flavour not unlike that of popular mexican sauces like Valentina, only a little darker.

The garlic comes in quite late and, by comparison, is rather well hidden, much like the red habanero that supports the cayenne. Nothing in this sauce is mild in taste, though, some ingredients just stand out a bit more than others amongst the amalgamation of powerful flavours that is Fifty Shades Hotter.

And, speaking of not being mild, this sauce certainly isn’t. It’s not as hot as mos habanero ones, being primarily cayenne and having even that fairly low down on its list, but it still reaches the top of a

2.5/10

Heat

placing it on the higher end of medium as its warmth comes through with that late hit of garlic.

All in all, it’s definitely better than I was expecting and, while the maker’s suggestion of sensually slathering it onto animal body parts strikes me as a weird, if thematic, way to word it, lightly coating dark meats with this sauce seems like the perfect use.

I do, however, also think it would be well at home as an addition to the cooking of a rich savoury dish like mexican style chilli, or even perhaps a molé, though it feels like sacrilege to suggest such.

This product is, first and foremost, a gimmick, but it’s certainly decent enough to see use should you decide to pick it up.

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