In the olden days, people always placed their finest belongings and ornaments on the top shelf in the drawing room. This was to show them off to visitors. They lent status and showed everyone how fancy the house was.
The ‘top shelf’ chilies - or the so-called Superhots - come from the species Capsicum Chinense and are the strongest in the capsaicin world. They are thin-walled (i.e. without much flesh) and consist mainly of Bhut Jolokias, Nagas, Trinidad Scorpions, Bhutlahs, Carolina Reapers and 7 Pods, plus a myriad of other cross-breeds and hybrids. The have a Scoville value of more than 700,000 SHU.
“Anyone who has tasted a top-shelf chili will agree with me that it takes a few days to get over the experience! The strong chilis ARE really strong.” (Chili Klaus)
BHUT JOLOKIA AND NAGA (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
A super hot chili that used to feature in the Guiness Book of Records as the strongest chili in the world with a value of 1,047,000 SHU. It is also referred to as Bih Jolokia or Naga Jolokia, and often by the common name of ‘ghost pepper’. It acquired the latter name because it is said that, if you eat a ghost pepper, your soul disappears. Jolokia and Naga originate from the north-eastern provinces of India and are cultivated today in the state of Assam.
YELLOW BHUT JOLOKIA (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
A yellow variety of the red Bhut Jolokia. It is not as strong, but beautiful and stronger than, say, Fatalii.
WHITE BHUT JOLOKIA (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
A beautiful, creamy white variety with citrus flavour notes.
CHOCOLATE BHUT JOLOKIA (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
The same strength as Bhut Jolokia, but with a sweeter undertone. An incredibly tasty chili with an abundance of heat.
CHOCOLATE SCORPION (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
The crème de la crème of chili fruit. A mulatto chili from the topmost shelf, and one of the most beautiful chilies I know. Not only its strength, but also its chocolate colour and sweet taste simply make my mouth water.
KING NAGA (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
This is a monster of a chili with more of everything. It originates from India and Bangladesh and has the same strength as Naga Morich. The people of Naga call the chili ‘Chaibe’, which refers to a person of high status, a tribal leader or a king. This chili is regarded as the most exquisite of all the Nagas and is also prized because of its potential medicinal properties.
BLACK NAGA (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
Black Naga is an exciting, dark version of Naga. It has a full-bodied, aromatic, almost blackcurrant-like taste. Black Naga is extremely strong, but bite into it and you will find it is more warming than stinging. Once that warmth has disappeared, you’ll experience an endorphin rush and perhaps need to lie down for a bit. A large, strong plant.
TRINIDAD 7 POD AND TRINIDAD SCORPION (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
Legendary chilies from Trinidad, which have gradually increased in popularity. And for good reason - they have a wonderful aroma and an incredible strength. Both chilies are very beautiful and they love sun and heat, and are perfect in a pot.
Trinidad 7 Pod Douglah 7 POD PRIMO (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
Primo, a chili enthusiast and guitarist, stumbled over 15 Naga Morich seeds on eBay. At the same time, a friend gave him seeds from a 7 Pod chili from Trinidad. Logically enough, Primo thought: “Extreme strength x extreme strength = absurdly extreme strength.” 7 Pod Primo was the result of this mental cross-breeding of Naga and 7 Pod. It is a wonderful chili with an equally wonderful aroma.
TRINIDAD 7 POD DOUGLAH (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
A chocolate version of Trinidad 7 Pod. Don’t let the chocolate colour fool you. It’s mega strong. In Trinidad they call mixed races ‘Douglah’. The inhabitants of Trinidad originate from India, Africa and Latin America. I ate this chili together with Hella Joof. It had a real nip – a bit like giving birth, we agreed.
TRINIDAD SCORPION BUTCH T (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
A scorpion sting – nothing less. Scorpion chilis are from the topmost shelf! They are alarmingly strong, but also very tasty. They are chubby and often have a little tail that resembles that of a scorpion. These chilis are cultivated in the USA and are very popular in various chili sauces and other chili products. In Trinidad they are used for military purposes - tear gas, for example - and added to ship’s paint, allegedly because they protect the bottom of the ship from barnacles. There are two other strains of Trinidad Scorpion, one of which is called Morouga. Try, for example, dried Trinidad Scorpion Butch T.
CAROLINA REAPER (CAPSICUM CHINENSE)
With a wind force of 15 (2,200,000 SHU) this is Number One in the world of chili. HP22B (Higher Power, pot 22, plant B.) It was this chili that almost did Bubber, a Danish TV personality, in. With an average strength of 1,500,000 SHU, Carolina Reaper is officially the strongest chili in the world.
Carolina Reaper is a cross between a ghost pepper and red habanero and was created by Smokin’ Ed from South Carolina. You have to be really REALLY careful with Carolina Reaper! It is really strong, and you can often feel it on your fingers for several days. Conversely, despite the strength, it has a lovely sweet, fruity taste, so moderate amounts of Carolina Reaper or dried Carolina Reaper work really well in many recipes and salsas and as a condiment.