the maker of Blair's Death Sauces - a man
with a fire in the belly
has what is perhaps an unusual goal for a
maker of food products: He wants to hurt
you. And he wants you to enjoy it.
is the mastermind behind Blair's Death
Sauces, a growing line of nuclear
concoctions so potent they make Tabasco
look like peppermint ice cream. So potent
that Blair has to wear a bodysuit and a
respirator to make them in his Highlands,
potent that he says his Sudden Death
sauce matches any on Earth for sheer
he says. "I'll put my Sudden Death
next to anything."
started the Death Sauce line three years
ago, but his interest in making tongues
sizzle dates to 1990, when he was the
owner of a Jersey Shore restaurant.
Aggravated by late-night drunks, he
started goading them to down chicken
wings made with his palate-punishing
say, 'If you can eat this sauce I'll give
you another drink," he recalls.
"Not many of them had another drink."
adventurous eaters started showing up to
take Blair's Wings of Death challenge;
Eat four wings and get them for free. (First,
though, they had to sign a waiver.) Fewer
than one in 100 managed it, says Blair.
original sauce, Blair's Death Sauce, is
now the mildest he makes. Next came the
even more scalding After Death. But even
that pales in comparison to Sudden Death,
which Blair introduced last year along
with Death Rain, which he bills as the
world's hottest dry spice.
that's still not his most piquant product.
That honor goes to the new 2 a.m. Reserve,
which at $25 a bottle is the equivalent
of a small-batch bourbon for the hot
sauce connoisseur. At 100 times hotter
than a jalapeno pepper, it is, he says,
"far off the scale."
sauces are all-natural -- the source of
all that scorch is habanero peppers from
Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, processed
into concentrated form.
York City hasn't proved a particularly
"hot" market for Blair, who
sells most of his sauce in warmer climes
-- mostly New Orleans, California, and
Florida -- but he believes that's about
it will remains to be seem, but either
way, Blair's Death Sauces beg the
question: Why would anyone want to eat
this stuff? Where's the attraction in a
condiment so savage it comes with a
reason, says Blair, is "the
challenge, without a doubt." But
mainly, he adds, "It's fun. It adds
excitement to food. You can take a
regular pot of chili and put some Sudden
Death in it, and it's a whole new world."