Mayhem Original Datil Pepper Hot Sauce Review

Like your hot sauce with a touch of earth, smoke, and tang, along with a bit of sweet? You’ll find them all here in Mayhem Original Datil Pepper Hot Sauce. It’s a delicious pairing of sweet, smoky, and vinegary bite that’ll keep you coming back to the bottle. But how’s the heat balance? Does the habanero-level heat of datil peppers shine here? And does it all come together in a way that makes it usable every day? Let’s dive into a bottle of Mayhem and see what makes its original sauce tick.

SUMMARY
Mayhem Datil Pepper Hot Sauce
4.4

If you love the sweetness of datil pepper sauces and enjoy a touch of smokiness in your hot sauce, Mayhem Original Datil Pepper Hot Sauce delivers. There’s a lot of flavor depth here and a solid medium spiciness. 

Heat Level: Medium
Pros:
  • Delicious sweet, smoky datil sauce
  • Low sodium (but still packed with flavor)
  • Good usability
Cons:
  • Datil sauces (in general) tend to lean into sweet (may not be for all)
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Flavor

Let’s start with the ingredients list of Mayhem Original Hot Sauce. Of course, we have datil peppers in the mix, but there’s a lot that come before it which tells us much about the overall flavor. The ingredients: Distilled vinegar, water, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, carrots, tomato paste, roasted datil peppers, molasses, honey, onion powder, herbs and spices, kosher salt, xanthan gum, and garlic powder.

Traditional datil hot sauces tend to be heavy on the sweetness. In fact, they often use ketchup (or ingredients that add up to it) as a base. It works because that sweetness pairs well with the datil’s natural tropical sweetness. You can see this at work with Mayhem, too. The distilled vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, and tomato paste all work together to create a ketchup-like hot sauce. Of course, it’s thinner than ketchup, but the base has a similar (though richer in Mayhem) sweet and tangy flavor. It’s a tasty flavor duo you get right on first bite.

But that’s quickly followed up with a good amount of earthiness and smokiness in Mayhem Original. That’s likely coming from the roasted datils along with the earthy undertones of brown sugar and molasses. Carrots help here, too. They have an earthy sweetness that’s always surprisingly good in hot sauces. Combined with the sweet, tangy taste, Mayhem Original Datil Pepper Sauce has plenty of depth. And we haven’t even gotten to the hint of garlic you get near the end, nor the heat (more on that soon.)

There’s salt here too, but it’s a crazy low amount of sodium in Mayhem Original, only 10 mg per teaspoon. This is 100% a low-sodium hot sauce (low enough to be considered 0% of your daily allowance on the label.) And really, you don’t miss it. There’s so much flavor going on here, any extra saltiness would just get in the way of the experience instead of enhancing it.

Mayhem Original Datil Pepper Hot Sauce on a spoon
Mayhem Original Datil Pepper Hot Sauce on a spoon

Heat Balance

Datil peppers are pretty heavy on the heat. As a habanero pepper cousin, they share the similar overall heat range: 100,000 to 300,000 Scoville heat units. That’s a spicy chili, for sure. Compare that to a fresh jalapeño (2,500 to 8,000 SHU): Datils are 12 to 120 times hotter.

Of course, you don’t get the full sense of a pepper’s heat within a hot sauce. Dilution is in play, especially when the chili in question isn’t one of the top ingredients on the list. And that’s true here with Mayhem Original. The Scoville heat units aren’t listed, but I’d label this a medium-heat hot sauce.

The spiciness hits you mid-bite and travels pretty quickly to the back of your throat. And it does tend to linger for a few minutes there. You feel the heat, but it won’t stop anyone used to eating typical medium-heat chilies from going back for more (and more.) Think somewhere between jalapeño to cayenne pepper level spiciness, and you’ll be prepared.

Yes, it’s a wide spread on the heat. But there’s also a ton of visible ingredients in this hot sauce — meaning, if you don’t shake this up well, you could end up getting some bites that are hotter than others. And that’s critical, too, to keep this sauce balanced. When shaken, the heat and flavor balance very well.

Usability

Overall, Mayhem Original Datil Pepper Sauce is quite usable, as long as you’re a fan of earthier/smokier and the “big sweetness” datil pepper sauces tend to provide. Many are. Some aren’t.

I found Mayhem reliably “datil”icious (yup, I said it), on chicken, tofu, pizza, and eggs. It’s little chunks of fresh ingredients particularly work well with rice dishes. It adds a nice smokiness to otherwise bland rice. And as a mixer into ketchup, this sauce is pure win. If you’re concerned about the medium heat here, that’s a great way to temper the heat (but you’ll also temper the other flavors too.)

The spout opening on the bottle is the size of a dime, so you’re able to get a decent amount of this hot sauce out rather quickly. Though, Mayhem Original has a medium thickness, so you still have some control. Remember to shake up this sauce, or you may find it thinner (and weaker in flavor) to begin and thicker (and hotter) toward the end.

Collectibility

Mayhem Original Hot Sauce has a ton of personality on the label. Two datil peppers take on human traits — and both look like trickster trouble. It’s all pulled together with a fun, chaotic font (a great fit for the Mayhem name.)

And there’s a nod to the history of the datil with a black and white photo of the top of a lighthouse (perhaps an older shot of the famous landmark, the St. Augustine Lighthouse?) Overall, it’s a fun label that’s doing a lot in a small space. Does it feel a bit chaotic? Yes, but that’s mayhem. It all weirdly works.

The Score

If you love the sweetness of datil pepper sauces and enjoy a touch of smokiness in your hot sauce, Mayhem Original Datil Pepper Hot Sauce delivers. There’s a lot of flavor depth here and a solid medium spiciness.

FINAL SCORE4.4
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance4.5
Usability4
Collectibility4.5
X-Factor4.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on December 28, 2021 to include new content. It was originally published on December 24, 2021.
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