Torchbearer Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce Review

If you need a hot sauce that’ll burn off a zombie’s face during the apocalypse, then Torchbearer has concocted a winner and named it aptly. Torchbearer Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce is really freakin’ hot, featuring the likes of fresh ghost peppers and habaneros. But how hot is that really? And how well balanced is its flavor against that heat? We run head-on into this Zombie Apocalypse (and hope to survive!) to tell you all about it.

SUMMARY
Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce
4.4
$16.95

Torchbearer sauces over and over prove their worth, and Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce is no exception. It’s a big heat, but it’s done with natural peppers (ghost pepper and habanero) so it’s packed with natural fiery sweetness. Overall, it’s well-balanced between flavor and spiciness and the cartoon label style makes it a total collectible.

Heat Level: Extra-Hot (~100,000 SHU)
Pros:
  • Chock full of natural chilies
  • Bold heat with true flavor
  • Super-collectible
Cons:
  • Not quite as hot as some reports say
  • Mandarin orange ingredient hard to detect
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10/17/2021 01:11 am GMT

Flavor

It’s not common for hot sauces to start their ingredients list with a super-hot pepper, but Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce does just that…and more. The ingredients: Ghost peppers, habanero peppers, carrots, Mandarin oranges, tomatoes, garlic, distilled white vinegar, vegetable oil, sugar, chili powder, salt, and pepper.

So yes, that’s no misprint. Super-hot ghost peppers are followed up right after by plenty-hot habaneros before we get to any other ingredients. More on the heat later, but know this is one naturally scorching sauce. No pepper extracts here. Just good old-fashioned chilies in all of their fiery flavor and glory.

Torchbearer Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce on a spoon
Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce on a spoon

On first bite, that fire is what you experience first, along with that natural pepper sweetness (especially prevalent in these two fruity chilies.) There’s a tang, too, from that distilled white vinegar. But Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce is in no way a vinegar-forward sauce. It’s much more subtle, at least when it comes to this.

The sweetness from the chilies quickly morphs into the sweet flavor from the carrots. I could taste that earthy carrot sweetness after a few bites, but I was surprised that I never really tasted those Mandarin oranges. I’m sure it’s there, but it just melds into the overall flavor. Finally, the tomatoes add a nice acidic side to this hot sauce, and the fresh garlic gives it a really nice mid-bite zing.

Overall, the flavor — once you get over the intense heat, is well-balanced. It’s a ride to get there, but you’re rewarded with a bold hot sauce with legit flavor.

On the salt: There is 20mg per teaspoon serving in Zombie Apocalypse, 1% of your daily allowance. That’s very low, especially since most will likely keep well below that serving size due to the extreme spiciness.

Heat Balance

Let’s talk about ghost peppers and habaneros for a minute. Ghost peppers (also known as Bhut Jolokia) are super-hot chilies (855,000 to 1,041,427 Scoville heat units), but they aren’t as hot as the chilies that top the scale, like the Carolina Reaper (1.4 million to 2.2 million SHU.) And habaneros are no slouch in the heat department either, running from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU. Compare those heat ratings to an everyday jalapeño (2,500 to 8,000 SHU) and you know you’re playing with serious fire.

Now, if you think the regular hot sauce sold at the grocery store is hot, then this is not for you. Though, there’s a lot of discrepency on the total Scoville heat units here. Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce is often listed at 500,000 Scoville heat units, but it doesn’t feel that hot. In fact, after the initial kick, it feels like it tapers down (quickly) to an upper-end medium heat to me. I mean, I can do a whole teaspoon of this sauce, not just a toothpick taste, at a time. And that says a lot for both its spiciness and taste.

Hot Ones has it at 100,000 Scoville heat units and that feels about right for the initial kick. It does put Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce right around the same heat as fresh habanero peppers, which is still plenty hot. This is still a sauce for true heat-speaking freaks, just maybe not as scary as the pepper pedigree sitting at the top of the ingredients list.

The experience: This heat hits your tongue and lips the minute its eaten. It lingers for about 15-20 minutes, but after the first minute, the intense spiciness dies down to a solid medium-heat simmer. It doesn’t give you that harsh, lasting pain like pepper extract hot sauces can deliver. And you’ll find yourself craving the deliciously sweet flavor more and more. That’s a sure sign that this hot sauce is well-balanced between flavor and spiciness.

Usability

Compared to other 100k+ SHU hot sauces, Zombie Apocalypse is quite usable. It’s that natural ghost pepper and habanero sweetness that’s sooo good on all sorts of meals, fried foods, and even snacks.

I tried this on my pizza and my morning eggs. Thumbs up on both. This also makes a terrific wing sauce and bumps up any other sauce mixes that are lacking in heat. The carrots, tomatoes, and garlic add a really nice flavor combination that make this a good go-to sauce for potatoes and rice too.

The key was dropping small bits of sauce per bite so that I didn’t get too overwhelmed with the heat. Note: this is a thick hot sauce, so Zombie Apocalypse will just sit atop your food rather than soak in and sneakily overwhelm. You see what you get, so use that to your advantage.

Collectibility

Torchbearer sauces as a whole are super-collectible. See our reviews on their Garlic Reaper and Honey Badger Hot Sauces to check out the total style. They always feature cool cartoon-like labels that tell a story that backs the name. In this instance, the Zombie Apocalypse label is just what you want from a sauce north of 100,000 Scoville heat units. Cartoon zombies (dare I say, a bunch of wild and crazy guys?) hang over a barrel of ghost pepper mash. One of them wears a chili pepper t-shirt. Love it.

You’ll want to treat their sauces like a collection. Paired together, it’s a fun visual (and flavor) journey. Seriously, I’ve never met a Torchbearer sauce that I didn’t like.

The Score

Torchbearer sauces over and over prove their worth, and Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce is no exception. It’s a big heat, but it’s done with natural peppers (ghost pepper and habanero) so it’s packed with natural fiery sweetness. Overall, it’s well-balanced between flavor and spiciness and the cartoon label style makes it a total collectible.

FINAL SCORE4.4
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance4
Usability4
Collectibility5
X-Factor4.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)


UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on June 29, 2021 to include new content. It was originally published on June 24, 2021.
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