Ed Currie claims or perhaps claimed the the HP22B Pepper (HP22B stands for higher power, pot number 22, plant B) is the worlds hottest pepper. At the time of this article Ed claimed that he had numerous samples of the HP22PB tested and they are were coming in between 1.375 to 1.474 million scoville units. It appears that Cliff Calloway, a chemistry professor at Winthrop University was involved in the testing.
While this is “old” news it was recently resurfaced when Pepper Joe claimed to know people who were going to announce a new worlds hottest pepper. This caught a lot of people in the hobby/industry off guard as most have assumed that the moruga scorpion would be the next pepper to wear the Guinness crown for world’s hottest pepper.
“After following this thread and now hearing about the origin of this pepper I will chime in with my thoughts and some facts. First to clarify some things for Macksack331. Initial application was filed by NMSU for Moruga but will not be fully submitted until after peer review by Hort Science magazine and publishing by Hort Science magazine. This can take weeks or months as I have been told because these are scientists and don’t just rush things along. I want to say that there are some very knowledgeable people on this forum. Some of you do have a science background and some of you do know your Botany. So lets look at the facts that surround this new pepper. First of all is it truly a new variety??? The answer is no. Now before you debate me on this let me define scientifically or Horticulturally what a new variety is. A new variety is stable and you can save seeds from it and grow it out year after year and get the same variety. It takes at least 7 generations or seasons to do this. Does not matter if it is Squash or Peppers. Primo who created the 7 Pot Primo now has a stable strain. The Habalokia which has been around a little while is stable. These guys say they have been working on this for 5 years. My guess is the first few years is playing around with crossing and then testing for heat. Then once you find out what you have you breed that for 7 generations. So the time period tells me there is no new strain. So why would anyone want seeds of something not yet true??
My second observation is this. Environment cannot make a new pepper. Maybe over thousands of years environment can affect genetics but not in a few years. The people involved in this project say they used certain techniques to stress the peppers. This will only afftect that particular season and will have no bearing on future seasons grown from future seeds. So why would anyone want seeds?? The Chile Pepper Institute grew their test plots with normal farming just like green chiles. True a New Mexico summer will be hotter than a Northeast summer so there will be higher ratings for peppers grown there. But at least there was no deliberate stress from a nutrient regimen. And if this hybrid pepper chemically stressed does got so hot just imagine using these guys stressing techniques on a Douglah? Moruga? or Butch T? How hot would they turn out?? Of course it behooves everyone involved in this South Carolina study to create a new pepper. Just like Frank Garcia you become exclusive and patent and Trademark and make as much as you can. I am not against making money but do these guys have a Primo and are they calling it something new so it can be their exclusive rights pepper?? I leave that up to all of you to think about. These guys say they have a higher mean average over 3 years. They say they are using stressing techniques. So all that is proven is that their stressing techniques gave them higher tests. Wake up everyone! It does not mean they have a hotter pepper. It just means they can make a pepper test rate hotter! Again stressing is not going to create a hotter pepper for future growing! But Joe and his friends know this and are hoping you dont look at these facts and spend your money. One more time folks stressing and environment will not genetically make a hotter pepper variety!!! Thats why the Institute does not do this. They grew in a clay field with limited nutrients. The Chile Pepper Institute is non profit. A graduate student ran this last study for his Thesis. Whether Guinness rubber stamps it I do not care. But at least the Moruga is a real variety and not a made up one. And at least it was grown like any other pepper. What I see is a well laid out plan by some businessman to make a lot of money off the unsuspecting General Public who wont know squat about Botany 101 or Scoville testing.”
Jim also goes on to say:
“I just find this hard to swallow. If they assembled a team 5 yrs ago then they cannot have a new variety. Because they would at least spend a few seasons crossing to get their potential hottest. Then upon finding that out go about making it stable. Unless of course there never was any crossing at all and they took an existing variety and used feeding techniques to stress it which does not create a new pepper at all. This sounds so much like the Naga Viper. Bosland’s group submits all their stuff to other scientists for peer review. So I wonder if these guys would too. Then again if they did call this a new variety that would be false and it would not be submittable on that basis alone.
One other thing I find funny. These guys plan to release hot sauces with this new pepper to make lots of money. I find that hilarious. Why? Because I know most of the sucessful sauce makers and sucess in the sauce business is limited. Most everyone I know has a day job except Dave, Blair and CaJohn. So just because you have a gimmick ie Hottest Pepper you will not be catapulted to sucess. Sucess in the sauce business is many, many years of hard work. Lots of wholesale customers (CaJohn’s business is 85% wholesale), and a product line that has great tasting products to get repeat sales. When the Bhut Jolokia got fame it did not make any individual sauce maker have great sucess. So any new pepper won’t either. And calling your Company PuckerButt won’t get you on mainsteam grocery shelves either. Having the Hottest pepper sauce does not do it all. Blair and Dave started with extract sauces in the beginning when people were looking for hotter than habanero. Now Blair makes so much money selling spicy snacks to the Asian market and Dave makes Gourmet cooking sauces and that is where they turned the corner. John has spent over 15 yrs to get where he is. And talking to him the other day He said if he knew going in it would be this hard he would not do it over again. I really don’t see PuckerButt or Joe making even a small fortune with this so called hottest pepper. Just sayin……”
Edit: March 28
I have yet to see Ed respond directly anywhere outside of his Facebook page but wanted to pull some of his clarifying comments into this post.
Feb 10 (Facebook comment from Ed in response to the moruga scorpion news)
“Sorry we’ve been gone for awhile, getting the seedlings going and planning out the farms. Looks like were expanding 5 x at least, WOW. The good doctor and I sent Guinness the final report with the stats on the lab equiptment. There are lots of claims out there, what makes us different is we are using a weighted average over four years now. The low range is 1.275 mil the highs are secret now ( just incase we have to play the who’s hotter game). Well over 200 lbs of hp22bs have been tested, awesome statistic, proper scientific process, and superior analysis. If they don’t give it to us, we’re publishing here in the US. Thanks for all the support and God Bless.”
Feb 17 (Facebook comment from Ed in response to the moruga scorpion news)
“K, the title has not been awarded. If you read the actual report, they’re saying one of the peppers was that hot, but the sample was average of 1.2 MILLION. Also, no back up data of retest is avaliable. We have a three year average of @1.5 MILLION. The data to back it up, and we will only show the averages. We gave hotter, yes
Is it good science to go with only that, no.”
March 22 (Facebook comment in response to claims about the cost to apply ($30,000) to Guinness World’s Records)
“The total they sent me was almost that, after the FX rate. When I figured out 19000 was the adjudicators fee, I decided we didn’t need it. the good Dr sent testing methods and lab calibrations to them last week to finish what they requested. The record would be cool, but I just like what I’m doing. Thanks again. Hope all is well”
March 21 (Facebook response to questions about averages vs highs being used for hottest pepper records)
“My understanding from reading the press releases, was that one pepper rated that scoville and the average of the test ( 10 peppers if I remember correctly) was 1.200,000. That would mean 9 of 10 were under a million. I congradulate CPI and the Morouga, Wishing them the best of luck on the future years of testing, but I’m following a different AAOC scientific method. We only publish averages for pounds of peppers over multiple years. If we are going to start publishing one off ratings instead of averages, I guess it;s time to start pulling out the high numbers. I did ask the Proffessor to get the highs and lows on this years testing ( @ 50 lbs of peppers submitted), so we’ll see. But I honestly don’t know if I’m will to start that game.”
I’ve also read a lot of speculation that the HP22B is just a 7 pot Primo being given a different name.
The article I linked to earlier indicates that Ed may hold a contest for the naming rights to this pepper. While unconfirmed Pepper Joe appears to be working with Ed and has started a contest for naming the HP22B pepper. According to info Joe posted he threw a few names for the pepper at the guys and they liked them so Joe has contest going collecting more names and I believe is giving away some free seeds. See for yourself.
In closing here’s a video of a guy trying the HP22B, the “next hottest pepper in the world”…
My $$$ is still on the 7 pot douglah being recognized by Guinness as the world’s next hottest pepper.