Since November 2013, the Carolina Reaper has held the top spot as the hottest pepper in the world. Coming in at 2.2 million Scoville heat units (SHU), the Reaper has won hundreds of rewards and is a pepper to be reckoned with. The PuckerButt Pepper Company harvests and grows over 100,000 chilies every year in South Carolina for distribution and sale – one of the largest organic farms on the east coast. However, the hottest pepper in the world now faces burning competition – from its creator.
Ed Currie’s “Pepper X” is an estimated 3.18 million Scoville heat units and has yet to be verified by the Guinness Book of World Records. The Scoville scale measures the pungency or spiciness of all kinds of chili peppers. Mildly spicy peppers like jalapeños reach 8,000 SHU while Thai chilies are around 50,000 to 100,000 SHU. Higher than the Carolina Reaper, standard pepper spray used by police achieves a heat level of 2 to 5.3 million Scoville units.
The experience of eating the Carolina Reaper has proven in many cases to be too intense for some individuals. There were reports of some fainting, hallucinating, and suffering from severe headaches, which describes the sheer power of the hottest pepper in the world. Pepper farms are continually experimenting with how spicy their harvests can be, and Pepper X, an accidental experiment from PuckerButt Pepper’s owner, may just be in the running for spiciest chili honors once it has been verified.