Posted April 4, 2006 by Nick Lindauer in Peppers

World’s Hottest Chilli – Possibly

This is an April 1st article…

By Richard Savill

A chilli pepper grown in a polytunnel in Dorset has been claimed as the world’s hottest.

The Dorset Naga is so fiery that when the owners break the skin to remove the seeds to sow for the following year’s crop they have to wear gloves and be outside in a strong wind so their eyes don’t sting.

The strength of chilli peppers is measured in Scoville heat units

“It is something I wouldn’t eat but some people must like them,” said Joy Michaud, who developed the chilli at the Peppers by Post business she runs with her husband Michael at West Bexington.

An American laboratory found the chilli to be almost 60 per cent hotter than the one listed in the Guinness Book of Records. The Naga registered a Scoville heat unit of 876,000. The record holder is a Red Savina Habanero with a rating of 577,000.

The result was so startling that the Dorset pepper was sent for a second test to a laboratory in New York used by the American Spice Trade Association. It recorded a higher figure of 970,000 heat units. The Naga, which is sold with a health warning, was developed from a variety which originated in Bangladesh.

The Michauds found the chillis, collected the seeds and grew them. It was only when customers told them they were unable to eat curries containing half a small pepper that they realized how hot they were.

Mrs Michaud said: “We bought the Naga Morich chilli from a shop in Bournemouth. It is revered by the Bangladeshis. We have all the certificates and believe it is a world record. We will be in touch with the Guinness Book of Records.”

Aktar Miha, of the Indis Bangladeshi restaurant in Bournemouth, said: “Most people don’t cook with it; they just have it near to them when they eat. They just touch their food with it. If you don’t know what you are doing it could blow your head off.”

From the website:

Is Dorset Naga the hottest chilli in the world?

We, Michael and Joy Michaud, grow chillies and sell them by mail order to customers throughout Great Britain. The business, called Peppers by Post, is located in Dorset on the southwest coast of England.

One of the items in our catalogue is Dorset Naga, an exceptionally hot variety that we developed from a Bangladeshi chilli known as Naga Morich. In 2005 we collected a sample of this chilli, and had it tested for heat by two laboratories in the USA. The result, measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), were astounding: taking an average of the two, Dorset Naga came in at 923,000 SHU.

To put this figure in context, the Guinness world record for the hottest chilli is currently held by Red Savina, which was once measured at 577,000 SHU (see: Guinness World Records).

This makes Dorset Naga more than 50% hotter than Red Savina, and clearly a contender for the title “hottest chilli in the world”.

Nick Lindauer

The Original Hot Sauce Blog