There is a bit of buzz this week about the “dragon’s breath” chile pepper, which is supposedly threatening the Carolina Reaper as the world’s hottest pepper. There are a couple of things giving me pause here.
For one, this can’t be an oddball that showed up on a plant or two. It has to be a stable hybrid cultivar to count. Are there dragon’s breath seeds, that grow dragon’s breath peppers again and again, with no variation? There isn’t really any language in anything I’ve read to support that such has occurred, despite claims that they’re waiting on Guinness to verify.
For another, there are some silly things being said about how hot this pepper supposedly is. Fears that it could “literally burn your airways” are ridiculous, because capsaicin doesn’t produce its burning sensation by actually damaging tissue. Anaphylactic shock? Well, if you’re allergic, sure. But why would this pepper be any more likely to trigger such than any other in a susceptible person?
The reported heat level is 2.48 million Scoville units. The Carolina Reaper was/is 1.5 to 2.2 million Scoville units. The dragon’s breath, if a real thing, isn’t so much hotter than the Reaper that it’s going to introduce any unique health concerns.
There is some smoke here, but I smell a little too much bullshit in it right now for me to believe in the fire. If the dragon’s breath chile is a real thing, then it’ll be around soon enough, and yes, I’ll have one. For now, let’s sit back and see what happens.