I am the first to admit that I like spicy foods. But I’m also a Rhode Islander, and to me, “spicy” is a jalapeño pepper or two in my homemade salsa. So you can imagine my wonderment when I read this story.
The Naga Viper chilli packs an astonishing 1,359,000 on the Scoville scale, which measures heat by the presence of the chemical compound capsaicin.
If you’re not familiar with the Scoville scale, it’s a system for measuring the heat of hot peppers. It was invented in 1912 by chemist William Scoville. According to wikipedia, the way it works is an alcohol extract of the capsaicin oil from a measured amount of dried pepper is added incrementally to a solution of sugar in water until the “heat” is just detectable by a panel of (usually five) tasters; the degree of dilution gives its measure on the Scoville scale. And by way of comparison, my humble jalapeño measures a measly 2500 on the Scoville scale.
The Naga Viper was not developed by a grower in India, or Thailand, or someplace exotic and tropical, but by a Mr. Gerald Fowler of Cark-in-Cartmel, near Grange-over-Sands, in Cumbria, England (this story just keeps getting weirder and weirder, doesn’t it?). Mr. Fowler crossed the three hottest peppers known to man to create his Naga Viper.
“It numbs your tongue, then burns all the way down. It can last an hour, and you just don’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. But it’s a marvelous endorphin rush. It makes you feel great.”
Yah. Endorphin rush. More like a rush to the hospital…