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New hottest pepper burns its way to a Guinness World Record

New hottest pepper burns its way to a Guinness World Record
Posted at 6:30 AM, Oct 18, 2023

The world’s new spiciest pepper officially has no chill whatsoever.

Fans of hot and spicy food have something new to add to their menu. A tiny new pepper on the scene has enough punch to claim the top spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the “world’s hottest chili pepper.”

“Pepper X is officially the world’s hottest chili pepper, with an average sizzling rating of 2,693,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), reported local station WISH in South Carolina, where the pepper was cultivated.

Scoville units measure a pepper’s capsaicin concentration. Capsaicin is a chemical inside the pepper’s white membrane that produces a burning feeling when it comes into contact with the human body.

A man's open palms holding a bunch of peppers
AP Photo | Jeffrey Collins

The newly-crowned spiciest chili pepper took over the Guinness top spot from the Carolina Reaper pepper, which claimed the title back in 2013. That pepper has an average 1.64 million SHU rating.

MORE: Want to live longer? Hot peppers could be the key

Even though Pepper X doesn’t double up on the Carolina Reaper’s SHU rating, don’t let the numbers deceive you. A specialized logarithm, or non-linear scale measures, the heat.

“So, it’s more like three times hotter than a Reaper,” Ed Currie, creator of both the Carolina Reaper and Pepper X, told popular YouTube show “Hot Ones,” where the new pepper debuted. It didn’t look like a pleasant experience for any of them:

The pain was evident within seconds of popping Pepper X into their mouths.

“Then, um, it’s just that violent and ever-growing thing that is somehow making my face tighter,” sputtered “Hot Ones” host Sean Evans.

Currie appeared much more in control with his description.

“There’s an intense burn that happens immediately, and then your head feels like, ‘Oh no, what’s going on?’ and then your body just starts reacting,” Currie shared with the team.

Ed Currie, cultivator of both the Carolina Reaper and Pepper X, poses with Guinness World Records plaque
AP Photo | Jeffrey Collins

In the 10 years since its rise to the top, the Carolina Reaper had no contenders in the spice wars. So Currie decided it was time to introduce something even hotter than the Carolina Reaper. After nearly a decade’s worth of cross-breeding the Carolina Reaper with other hot peppers, Currie hit on the right combination to create an even more explosive entry into the culinary world.

Interested in trying the Pepper X yourself? Hot sauce purveyor Heatonist.com is selling The Last Dab: Xperience hot sauce made from Pepper X for adventurous foodies to try.

MORE: How to tell if your jalapeño is too hot just by looking at it

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