Guinness World Records has officially declared Pepper X, a small, wrinkled, yellow-green pepper, as the hottest chili pepper in the world. Ed Currie, the founder of PuckerButt Pepper Company in South Carolina, received the Guinness award and introduced this fiery new variety to the world during his appearance on the YouTube show Hot Ones.
To gauge the spiciness of Pepper X, Guinness officials utilized the Scoville Scale, a system developed in 1912 to determine a pepper’s heat level by measuring the concentration of capsaicinoids, the chemical compounds responsible for its spiciness.
Pepper X registers an average of 2.693 million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). In contrast, a jalapeño typically ranges from 2,000 to 8,000 SHUs, while a serrano pepper can fall between 10,000 and 23,000 SHUs.
The prior record-holder, the Carolina Reaper, which was also created by Ed Currie, averaged 1.64 million SHUs.
Currie described the feeling of eating a whole Pepper X: “There’s an intense burn that happens immediately. Then your head kind of feels like, ‘Oh no! What’s going on?’ And then your body just starts reacting. You get it in your arms, you get it in your chest,” he said.
“It has no real throat burn like the Reaper, but that comes on later when you’re in pain.”
A significant portion of a pepper’s spiciness is concentrated in its white placenta, which holds the seeds, rather than the seeds themselves. Guinness notes that Pepper X’s distinctive exterior texture provides more room for the growth of this placenta.
Ed Currie mentioned that his team stabilized Pepper X approximately a decade ago. They chose to release it now because no one had managed to surpass his earlier record with the Carolina Reaper.