Q: Hi Dave,
I’m Sgt Steve Powell, a Canadian "Army Sargent" up here in Canada, currently working as a facilitator in a Deployment Support Centre. Our boys are over in Afghanistan and it is my job to provide spousal assistance if problems arise on the "home front," whatever their nature may be. I have just recently become a hot sauce devotee and am doing self-imposed "tasting duties" for friends in Afghanistan. That is, I buy it, try it, and then send my recommendations to friends in Afghanistan. They then request that their wives send over the sauce of their choice, to put a little bit ’o fire in their army food. Our number one BURNING question is, what in the name of heck gives some sauces that absolutely terrible bitter flavor? For a "base-line" to make reference to, it would seem we unanimously like Alberta Crude hot sauce–nice ’n hot and not bitter at all. I’m anxiously awaiting your reply.
–S. P. Powell
A: Hello Sgt. Pungent Powell:
The superhot sauces have oleoresin capsicum, or extract in them. It is very bitter and poor tasting, and imparts that to the sauces. Some other sauces, not so hot, have an excess of vinegar in them and often a sour taste. So if you see the words "oleoresin," "extract," "capsicum oil," or "capsacin" in the ingredients, avoid the sauce.