Tortugas’ Lie is a restaurant down in Nags Head, North Carolina. I’ve visited the Outer Banks just about every Summer over the past 6-7 years, but have never eaten at this establishment. So, I can’t really speak to how the food stacks up, but I can say they have a pretty tasty little hot sauce with their name emblazoned on the label.

Bottles of this not-so-hot habanero sauce started showing up on shelves locally in northern Virginia earlier this year and it has remained a staple in the pantry — the wife has claimed it as her current favorite. It’s got just the right amount of heat for her plus the added bonus of a solid amount of brown sugar. For my own, preferences, I’d prefer that ratio flipped — less sugar, more heat.

Tortugas' Lie Habanero Peppa Sauce label

The sauce pours thick and chunky with plenty of habanero pepper and onion pieces suspended in the brown liquid. It’s not the most attractive looking sauce I’ve ever encountered, but we’re not here for looks. We’re here for the flavor and, hopefully, a little fire.

Tortugas' Lie Habanero Peppa Sauce on a spoon

The nose is filled with a strong brown sugar aroma, garlic and onion up front. The peppery notes take a bit of a back seat, lingering lightly in the background. The smell and taste of this one are just about mirror images, and carry such a distinct brown sugar character that it has to be used on just the right food so as to not conflict. Unless, of course, you’re my wife and you’ll put it on just about anything.

And the sauce is quite flavorful with a strong garlic and brow sugar presence, as noted earlier. Onion and habanero peppers are a quick second arrival with a hint of lime late in each swallow. The heat is of a low-to-moderate level with just about all of it hitting and focusing on the tongue. A gentle trail of warmth eventually makes its way down the throat.

Tortugas' Lie Habanero Peppa Sauce back label

Tortuagas’ Lie is a fun little sauce. As I stated, I’m a bit more finicky with regard to what I would apply it as the brown sugar is pretty strong. I’ve had it on tacos, enchiladas and even eggs — each time it has worked fairly well, as long as I don’t put too much on. I’ll just add some dried pepper flakes to make up for the lack of heat.