Chilies and spicy food in general, are something that divides diners. From curries to chocolate, chili-heads (those who love the spicy peppers), will always find new and inventive ways of incorporating the heat into as many meals as possible. The world of chilies is of course seemingly never-ending, with new varieties appearing every year and tipping the scale higher and higher, reaching unimaginably painful levels, with some even equating to pepper spray! (More on that later).
During this article you will see the phrase SHU or Scoville Units, this is the measurement used in the Scoville Scale to designate the spiciness of peppers. The system refers to the amount of dilution a pepper requires for there to be no burning sensation when tasted by a panel. The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville.
Trinidad Scorpion ‘Butch T’ – 1,463,700 SHU
To start the list is the Trinidad Scorpion ‘Butch T’. In 2011, this Australian chili produced by Butch Taylor was a World Record holder as decided by Guinness. The name comes from their scorpion-like stinger located at the pepper’s tip and the ‘Butch T’ section is due to Butch labelling each batch of seeds he sold with his first name and last initial. The chili held its title until February 2012, being knocked off its pedestal by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion mentioned later on.
7 Pot Primo – 1,473,480 SHU
The fourth spiciest chili is the 7 Pot Primo, this pepper was developed by Louisianan Primo or Troy Primeaux. The pepper is a cross between the Trinidad 7 Pot and Naga Morich, he started growing this wonderful ball of heat back in 2005 and this pepper has been grown through numerous generations. The pepper can develop a strange skinny ‘tail’ which makes it look very menacing and spicy before it even touches the mouth! The peppers often become lumpy and rather oddly shaped and this fruity-tasting pepper is very hot, with one diner even equating it to sucking battery acid.
7 Pot Douglah – 1,853,936 SHU
Number 3 in this spicy list of no mercy is the 7 pod Douglah, also known as the Chocolate 7 pod. It’s often known in the world of chilies as one of the most flavourful of the hottest peppers. Apparently the pepper starts like most chilies as a green pepper that later turns into its recognisable dark brown/purple skin with pimple-like lumps. Originating in Trinidad, the name apparently comes from the fact that one pod will be enough to spice seven pots of stew.
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion – 2,000,000 SHU
The second spiciest chili is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, or Moruga Blend. This pepper was given the title of world’s hottest chili in 2012 after kicking the previously mentioned Scorpion ‘Butch T’ off the top spot. The pepper wasn’t recognised by Guinness though, so officially it never managed to become an official record holder. Apparently, this pepper’s heat just seems to keep growing with one bite, found in Moruga, Trinidad, the pepper is revered amongst many chili-heads.
Carolina Reaper – 2,200,000 SHU
Here we are… the top spot. The World’s Hottest Pepper, as recognised by those wonderful lot over at Guinness, is the Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper or HP22BNH7. This pepper was bred by Ed Currie from PuckerButt Pepper Company, South Carolina purely for its heat but apparently doesn’t have a bad flavour either. The Reaper is a cross between a Pakistani Naga and a Red Savina Habanero and has a Scoville rating of 1.5 million with one batch known as HP22B “High Power, Pot 22, Plant B” even reaching 2.2 million SHU. To put this in perspective, U.S. Police issue Pepper Spray comes in at 2.5 million to 5.3 million Scoville units.
Many think of the Ghost Pepper, or Bhut Jolokia, as the world’s hottest chili but this isn’t the case, in fact this pepper doesn’t even make into the top 5, and barely the top 10.
When you start venturing into the possibility of higher Scoville units, you get into the world of pure capsaicin, which is quite literally concentrated spice. One site for example sells pure Crystal Capsaicin which breaks the scale at 16 million Scoville. I personally am I man who can barely handle the likes of the child’s-play Jalapeno let alone even licking the outside of any of the top 10. For those of you who are chili lovers, the world of spice is every year raising the bar with cross breeding and new technology allowing you to get more and more of your crazy hit. So keep your eyes peeled, but please wash your hands before you touch anything.