For years, the Carolina reaper has held the #1 spot for the hottest pepper on earth. There have been contenders, but none have officially dethroned the reaper for over 6 years. Until now.
In October of 2023, Smokin’ Ed Currie announced a new Guinness World Record for the hottest chili pepper: Pepper X. This is an exciting moment for the pepper community, as we have a new king of heat to experience.
So, let’s take a deep dive into what we know about Pepper X, and learn the facts. There’s no doubt this is a super spicy pepper (you can tell in the video released on Hot Ones), and we can’t wait to try it.
According to Ed Currie, seeds for Pepper X have been in his “war chest” for over a decade. Having already created the Carolina reaper, he wanted to be ready to out-do any potential rivals in the pepper breeding world if they ever came along to challenge his record.
In 2019, Puckerbutt Pepper Co. worked with Heatonist on a hot sauce that included Pepper X peppers as a primary ingredient. No other details were announced at the time, other than that it was a seriously spicy pepper.
After many years of new hot sauces and products using Pepper X, the moment finally came. Since no one was able to dethrone the reaper, Currie said he was ready to bring a new, hotter pepper to market.
Unfortunately for us, seeds for this pepper are not yet available, and that is a shame. Hopefully, this will change in the coming months, as we would love the opportunity to grow our own Pepper X plants at home!
How hot is Pepper X?
After years of wondering just how spicy this new pepper was, we finally have an answer. According to Guinness, the Pepper X has an average of 2,693,000 SHUs on the Scoville scale, over 1,000,000 SHUs more than the Carolina reaper.
The Scoville testing was done by Winthrop University in South Carolina. While enthusiasts have been talking about peppers that are hotter than the reaper for years, this is still a shocking claim. Over 1 million Scoville units hotter than the reaper, in a mustard pepper?!
Watch the announcement of Pepper X:
Controversy Over Pepper X
Even with an official announcement, the pepper growing community still had questions regarding Pepper X. An all new world’s hottest pepper without seeds or fresh peppers available to the public was certainly unfortunate, and it led to some skepticism over the claims.
A few big players in the chilihead and gardening communities have spoken up about their thoughts and reservations:
Troy Primo, the creator of the 7 Pot Primo pepper, didn’t seem fully convinced after the Guinness announcement:
In essence, Primo stated that, while a Guinness Record sounds like an official statement, it doesn’t mean the pepper was tested by a verifiable 3rd party. For him to be convinced, he would need to see peer reviewed, 3rd party data showing the consistent heat levels of Pepper X.
Johnny Scoville, a popular chilihead who regularly eats dozens of superhots in a single sitting, wanted a chance to taste the pepper for himself before making a final judgement:
In essence, Johnny looks forward to trying Pepper X and hopes that it will be the new hottest pepper. However, in his experience, mustard colored superhots have never been among the spiciest varieties. He thinks the red and chocolate pods are always the hottest of any particular strain.
He also touches on the fact that Guinness World Records is a publicity and marketing company. They earn money from prospective record holders, and charge large fees to commemorate a new record in person.
Overall, the community is divided about the announcement of Pepper X. Some are simply excited that a new hottest pepper exists. Others aren’t convinced that the Pepper X is truly a new record holder without more first-hand information.
When Can We Grow Pepper X From Seed?
As of the time of writing this article, Pepper X seeds are not available for sale. Ed Currie and Puckerbutt Pepper Company have been incredibly careful not to share any fresh peppers or seeds with the public.
When asked why he has been so protective of Pepper X, Currie stated that, “people have been trying to steal it for the last 10 years.” Now that it is released, we hope seeds will become available soon!
In the registered trademark for Pepper X, Puckerbutt does list “pepper seeds for planting” as one of the covered goods and services. Hopefully this is a sign that seeds will be offered for sale at some point in the future.
When seeds do become available, they will likely be sold on the PBC website. We’ll be keeping an eye out for them to become available!
Our Thoughts on Pepper X
As of right now, we’re excited that Pepper X has been officially announced as the new hottest pepper. The heat claims are incredibly high, and I hope we get the chance to experience it first-hand in its fresh form.
While a new superhot is always exciting, we are a bit disappointed that seeds won’t be available to the pepper growing community. After all, growing the plants is what we love to do most!
We have already experienced Pepper X in a number of hot sauces from Heatonist, so our hope is that Puckerbutt will release seeds and plants for gardeners around the world.
While we wait to see where things go with Pepper X, there are other exciting developments in the superhot pepper world. Troy Primo has a new pepper called the Louisiana Creeper. This variety has some people claiming it is hottest pepper they have tasted to date!
The Primotalii is still among the very hottest peppers that I have ever tried first-hand. So, if you’re looking for the hottest peppers you can grow right now, maybe try this variety!