Some Like It Hot

Artisan hot sauces that explode on the palate.

Artisan hot sauces that explode on the palate.


If you do, have I got the hot sauces for you.

Bob Henry of Henry Family Farm has been growing chiles in Virginia’s Shenendoah Valley for more than 30 years. Now, he’s bottling all that heat in a most pure form.

Henry allows the peppers to ripen on the vine, then hand picks them before extracting them within 24 hours of harvest. The extracts are bottled, with no additional spices or flavors, so that each pepper’s distinctiveness really shines through.

Henry Family Farm Chile Pepper Extracts are now getting a lot of attention, thanks to food and wine critic, David Rosengarten, who has been spreading the word about them and making them more widely available.

I had a chance to try two of the extracts. The bottles caution using the extract one drop at a time — for a reason. They are potent.

Take a taste -- if you dare.

Take a taste — if you dare.

The Yellow Fatali African Habanero is the color of golden curry, which it would actually be ideal for. The blast of heat gives way to lovely citrus notes and a little grassiness.

The Naga Jolokia Ghost Chile of India is famous for being one of the most searing peppers around. The Yellow Fatali falls about 125,000 to 325,000 units on the Scoville scale of heat. The Ghost Chile? It’s 800,000 Scoville units. Yowza. It’s blistering, all right. But there’s surprising sweet fruitiness, too, like that of tomatoes.

A 5-ounce bottle is $24.

If you can take the heat, these will surely rock your taste buds.

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  • I love spice and LOVE hot sauce on everything. These look super HOT.

  • I must admit that I don’t like it that hot. But for those who do, these sauces sound great!

  • where can I buy them in the SF Bay Area?

  • Arlene: Unfortunately, I think they are available only through mail-order. But if you want to treat yourself, these would be a great way to do it.

  • I’ve been enjoying Henry’s Hot Sauces for a couple of years now. More than the heat the flavors are addicting. When I used some with my country style green beans my wife howled that they were too hot. Now after getting used to that level she likes them hotter than I do. She adds one variety or another to most of the things she cooks.

    We do sometimes get the unsuspecting guest though who isn’t used to the heat…

  • Pat D: That’s too fun about how your wife has grown into a hot sauce fiend. Henry’s definitely is gourmet stuff. So complex and nuanced.

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