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I'm growing some bhut jolokia peppers, and they are almost ready for harvesting.

However, I've since seen that the naga viper pepper has beaten the bhut jolokia as the hottest pepper. I've also seen that a variety of Trinidad Scorpion pepper has beaten out the naga viper.

The store I bought my bhut jolokia from now is selling "the world's hottest pepper" called naga jolokia.

Is the naga jolokia the same as the naga viper? Is it the same as the bhut jolokia?

I understand that the naga viper was an unstable hybrid. Presumably this means that it cannot be reliably sold for home gardeners. Is the Trinidad Scorpion variety stable? If not, how do the stable varieties compare with the naga viper and bhut jolokia?

To summarize the questions:

  1. What is a naga jolokia, and where does it stand in comparison to the other "contender" peppers?
  2. What is the world's hottest pepper?
  3. What is the hottest pepper that the average home gardener can purchase, and then grow at home (local climate permitting)?
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1  
Keep those crazy things away from me please sir! –  Brian Sep 2 '11 at 18:02
    
I recall vividly a claim made for the Dorset naga, mainly because it was made in a newpaper on April Fool's Day, and I was never entirely sure whether it was true or not. –  Peter Taylor Sep 3 '11 at 8:46
    
@Peter: The business is real and makes the same claim on their site, so I suppose it could be misinformation but it's definitely not an April fool's prank. The pepper itself now seems to have its own dedicated site. –  Aaronut Sep 3 '11 at 16:31
    
Ya could just go buy crystalline capsaicin, can't find a pepper hotter than that. –  derobert Sep 4 '11 at 5:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

What is the world's hottest pepper?

According to the Scovile Scale the hottest pepper is Bhut Jolokia. The one you are currently growing

Scovile Scale Visualized

Scovile Scale Visualized

What is a naga jolokia, and where does it stand in comparison to the other "contender" peppers?

Bhut Jolokia or Naga Jologia

According to some sources, they indicate that Bhut and Naga are the same pepper. Naga means Ghost.

MSNBC has a great article covering this world record chili:

The pepper is known by any number of names across India’s northeast. It’s the “poison chili” in some areas, the “king of the chilis” in others. Just to the south of Assam is Nagaland, it’s eaten in nearly every meal. As a result, it is often called the Naga mircha — the “Naga chili.”

Naga Jolokia or Bhut Jolokia

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Nice touch on the charts –  canadiancreed Sep 3 '11 at 4:09
    
so according to this answer, if I want to get a hot meal, I should just get a little bit of pepper spray ;) –  Lie Ryan Sep 4 '11 at 11:46
1  
@Lie Ryan Yes you should. It's easier to make as well. Spray it on everything; or just cut to the chase; spray it in your mouth! –  chrisjlee Sep 4 '11 at 21:48
    
Pablano should be spelled Poblano. And there are only two peppers: chilaca and poblano (pasilla ancho), not three. (Pasilla sometimes refers to dried poblano or chilaca, and incorrectly refers to the poblano in North America; unfortunately this is common.) –  Jared Updike Sep 8 '11 at 4:07
    
Thank you. Good point. –  chrisjlee Sep 8 '11 at 13:59

According the Scoville Scale the peppers you mention (the Bhut Jolokia chili pepper) are ranked with the hottest of the peppers, albeit in a 'wide range' (855,000–1,463,700 Scoville heat units).

The Scoville explanation on Wikipedia (linked above) does not include "naga jolokia" but does include "Naga Viper" and "Bhut Jolokia". It is likely that "Naga Jolokia" is a hybrid of the two, which may or may not be stable and reproducible. These are all in the that same "hottest of the hot" range and "which is the hottest?" is likely a moving target. Frankly, I would put all of these in the "too hot to matter" category. There is no reason that I am aware of that the average home gardener could not purchase any or all of these varieties and even produce your own hybrids using relatively simple cross pollination techniques.

This answer should not be confused as volunteering to taste or sample anything prepared with any of these peppers.

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+1 for mentioning the error bars. –  Peter Taylor Sep 3 '11 at 8:47

Let me just clarify why some places will say the Bhut is the hottest and some will say the Viper is the hottest. It's because there are two different notions of "hottest".

One notion is this: If I were to grow some peppers, what variety would get me the hottest peppers on average? The answer to this is the Bhut. They consistently produce peppers over 1,000,000 SHU when grown casually by amateurs.

The other notion is this: What variety is the world record, hottest pepper ever? The answer to this is the Viper. But if you were to grow a Viper casually, you would not get a heat level anywhere near the world's record.

The reason for the discrepancy is not very well known. Most likely, the Viper is just more responsive to the techniques used by expert growers to produce record-breaking peppers. (Controlled light patterns, intentional drought stress, and so on.)

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