As of August, 2013, Guinness World Records stated that Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper® is officially the world’s hottest chile pepper. Originally named the “HP22BNH7”, bred by cultivator Ed Currie, who runs PuckerButt Pepper Company in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
The original cross was between two former world record holders, the ghost pepper and a Red Savina Habanero. It is, to date, the world’s hottest hybrid pepper.
Ed Currie began growing peppers because of his interest in the health benefits of hot peppers, born from his family’s history of early death from heart disease and cancer. He found that indigenous populations from around the world who eat hot peppers with meals have extremely small instances of these diseases, prompting his focus on peppers as a delicious and healthy food staple. Read more about Ed Currie here.
Recently, there has been some debate over whether the Carolina Reaper is genetically distinct from the Trinidad 7-Pot Primo strain, another hybrid species which is very similar in heat level and appearance.
SHAPE: So the look of these fruits kinda tends to be all over the place. Most images you will see of the Carolina Reaper have the distinctive lobes and the stinger tail. But some Reapers do look more like a Ghost Pepper. Check out the photos below of various Carolina Reapers.
TASTE: Typically superhots have chemical undertones, as if you can actually taste the capsaicin. The Carolina Reaper has a sweet and fruity flavor, right before the heat kicks in. The Puckerbutt Pepper Company wants their peppers to not only challenge the taste buds but to also enhance the flavor of food. There’s a lot more flavor to the Carolina Reaper then you’ll find in most extremely hot peppers. With that being said, this still is an extremely hot pepper. Eating it raw is not really advised.
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Photo By Dale Thurber (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons