Google ‘hot sauces’ and hotsauceworld.com is the first result that pops up. For every hot sauce seeker hotsauceworld.com is a mandatory stop and every month over 15,000 fellow seekers land here. Being that hotsauceworld.com gets all this organic traffic as a passionate hot sauce enthusiast I have a few suggestions.
Build a list of five recognizable hot sauces (Maybe: Tabasco, FRANK’S RedHot hot, Sriracha, Cholula Hot Sauce and El Yucateco Green Mexican Hot Sauce). I would then hire a professional hot sauce taster (they exist for wine and coffee so probably also for the hot sauce world) and ask him/her to classify each sauce against this palette of five. So, hot sauces under Tabasco are similar in taste to Tabasco.
Whenever someone makes a purchase I’d add samples of the five base sauces to the order. This way shoppers can familiarize themselves with base flavors. Any sauce that has a flavor outside of the five sauces will have it’s own category called “unique”. The five flavors I’ve chosen are random, I’m sure the store owner could do a better job picking representative base flavors.
Hotsauceworld.com currently ranks sauces on four levels: Hottest, Hot, Medium, and Mild. This means nothing to me. What I describe as hot might be medium for you. The most popular hot sauce in the US is Tabasco its taste and hotness are universally recognized. I would use Tabasco as my average hotness point and categorize each sauce on a gradient scale above and below Tabasco. Now I would use our hot sauce expert from Idea 1 and have him/her rank every sauce on this new scale.