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Canadian growers eager to get their hands on hottest new chili pepper in the world

The new Pepper X has been named the hottest chili pepper in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, dethroning the Carolina Reaper, which held the title for a decade. 

Stu Smith, owner of Stoke the Fire Hot Sauce, a line of hot sauces, grows the Carolina Reaper on his farm in Revelstoke, B.C., about 210 kilometres east of Kamloops. And he’d heard of Pepper X before the big announcement.

“In the pepper community we’ve known it’s out there, but to actually have it … dethrone the Carolina Reaper was quite a big move,” said Smith. 

Heat in peppers is measured in Scoville heat units. Zero is bland, and a regular jalapeno pepper registers about 5,000 units. A habanero, the record-holder about 25 years ago, typically tops 100,000. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Carolina Reaper at 1.64 million units.

Pepper X’s record is an average of 2.69 million units. By comparison, pepper spray commonly holstered by police is around 1.6 million units. Bear spray advertises at 2.2 million units.

On The Coast6:51B.C. grower speaks about the world’s new hottest pepper

Featured VideoStu Smith of Revelstoke, B.C. is one of the growers of the world’s second-hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper. He speaks with GGloria Macarenko about the new hottest pepper, Pepper X.

A single small red wrinkly pepper is in a hand.
The Carolina Reaper was the hottest pepper in the world for a decade, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. (Jeffrey Collins/Associated Press)

Smith said he would like to grow Pepper X on his farm if he was offered the seeds, and even attempt to crossbreed them to set a new pepper record. 

“You never know, maybe we could be the next ones,” Smith said. 

It is possible there are hotter peppers in development, but beating a world record depends on getting them certified and tested, he said. This means it has to be a stable pepper that is consistent over several years of growing. 

“I believe there’s a lot of pepper growers out there that have peppers in contention of that.” 

Pepper X was developed by South Carolina pepper expert Ed Currie — the same grower who created the Carolina Reaper. 

But Currie is protecting Pepper X. He told Associated Press no seeds will be released until he is sure his children, his workers, and their families can fully earn the rewards of his work.

Calgary Eyeopener7:20Pepper X

Featured VideoSorry Carolina Reaper, the world now has an even hotter pepper: “Pepper X.” We talk to a Calgarian trying to get ahold of some of the seeds.

“Everybody else made their money off the Reaper. It’s time for us to reap the benefits of the hard work I do,” Currie said.

That work includes dozens of fields across South Carolina’s York County, secret greenhouses where Currie works on peppers to prevent them from being stolen and a PuckerButt store in Fort Mill, where Currie works on dozens of sauce ideas that range from mild to blazing hot. He also sells his peppers to companies worldwide.

Doyle Schmidt runs PepperKing, a hot sauce and spice business in the Calgary area. And he can’t wait to obtain Pepper X seeds when they eventually become available. 

“It’s gonna be difficult to get the seeds,” Schmidt said. “But I’m really hoping I can get my hands on some.”

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