The Quick Report

Sorry Carolina Reaper, There’s a New Hottest Pepper in Town

After 10 straight years of holding the distinction of the world’s hottest pepper from 2013-2023, the Carolina Reaper has gone down in flames, dethroned by a newcomer, and the winner is…

Guinness World Records Names the New Hottest Pepper

There’s a new sheriff, er, chili pepper in town and it’s quite a pistol. On August 23, 2023, Guinness World Records crowned Pepper X as the hottest pepper in the world, dethroning the previous record holder, the Carolina Reaper. But the Carolina Reaper’s creator, Ed Currie, is happy about that. He also created Pepper X.

How Hot Is Pepper X?

The heat of peppers is measured using the Scoville heat unit or scale. For example, a habanero pepper, known as one of the hottest peppers in the world, registers 100,000 Scoville heat units.

However, Pepper X registers at a scorching 2.69 million Scoville heat units, BBC reported.

Eating a Whole Pepper Might Come With a Gastric Price

Even if someone were to double-dog dare you to eat a whole Pepper X, you might want to give that a second thought.

Only five people in the world have ever eaten an entire Pepper X. Its creator, Ed Currie is one of them.

I was feeling the heat for three and a half hours,” Currie told the Associated Press. “Then the cramps came.”

“Those cramps are horrible,” Currie added. “I was laid out flat on a marble wall for approximately an hour in the rain, groaning in pain.”


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Pepper X might just be better in small doses, such as any hot sauce.

What’s Hotter Than a Habanero?

For ten years, the Carolina Reaper has held the distinction of being the planet’s hottest pepper, taking the title in 2013 and retaining it until 2023.

The Carolina Reaper was not a naturally occurring chili pepper. It was cultivated by American breeder Ed Currie. The reaper was cultivated from the Capsicum chinense plant, a “habanero-type pepper” that is native to the Americas. In fact, all the hottest peppers in the world are members of this species.

Around 2001, Ed Currie began working on developing a chili pepper that would become the Carolina Reaper. Through hundreds of hybrid combinations, Ed finally nailed the perfect combination when combining a “really nastily hot” La Soufriere pepper from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and a Naga pepper from Pakistan.

It wasn’t until August 11, 2017, that Currie’s Carolina Reaper became certified as the world’s hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records.

Testing by South Carolina’s Winthrop University certified the Carolina Reaper at 1.64 million Scoville heat units.

Where Does the Heat in Chili Peppers Come From?

It is a common misconception that the heat and spice of a pepper comes from its seeds. Capsaicin is the active component that creates heat, and it is contained in the placenta, the tissue that holds the seeds, which is the white pith of the inner wall. The seeds themselves do not produce any capsaicin.

Ed Currie Beat His Own World Record for Hottest Pepper

Like his creation, the Carolina Reaper, Ed Currie also spent a decade on his South Carolina farm developing what would become Pepper X.

“This was a team effort,” Currie said. “We knew we had something special, so I only let a few of my closest family and friends know what was really going on.”

Peppers as Intellectual Property

According to Currie’s attorney, around 10,000 products have used the Carolina Reaper name without permission. This time, Ed is taking a different approach, hoping to see some profits this time around with his new pepper.

Like the Carolina Reaper, Pepper X is a proprietary pepper. This time, no pods or seeds from Pepper X will be sold. The only way to taste Pepper X will be through properly licensed hot sauces that are sold.