The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T is the chilli pepper that blew the infamous Ghost Pepper (and the Naga Viper) out of the white-hot water and out of the record books.
In June 2011, the Butch T’s capsaicin level (spicy ‘heat’) was measured under laboratory conditions. Usually with super-hot chillies, a piquant pepper’s perilous power is measured by people on youtube with names like Loosehead Ted, Micky Twoteeth and Bilrog the Char-Throat Cretin. The finely calibrated findings are that if it makes his nostrils hum, it’s 200,000+ Scoville Heat Units. A pulsating eyeball and sense of impending doom: 500,000+. At this level, most people would run screaming to the nearest source of water (bad move). Even the Guinness judges were taken aback then, when the Butch T’s reading came in: 1,463,700 Scoville Heat Units. Ouch. That made it the world’s hottest chilli pepper at the time, bar none.
Although the plain terrifying Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper (which we also stock) has since been measured by the New Mexico Chile Pepper Institute as surpassing the mythical 2 million Scoville mark, a quick check will reveal that the Guinness Book of World Records still lists the Butch T as the most ferocious pepper known to man. Be it the world’s hottest, or now second or third hottest, the Butch T is a serious brain-burner, hotter than even the legendary Bhut Jolokia or Naga Morich, and certainly not for newbies.
As with most famous and sought-after chillies, several agencies and individuals vie for credit for its first propagation. After cross-referencing various sources, the most accurate picture I can communicate of the Butch T’s origins is this:
The intimidating Butch T came about thanks to the nature of both Trinidad and Australia.
Scorpion Peppers grew endemically in Trindad. The Hippy Seed Company of Sunny and stunningly beautiful New South Wales on Australia’s Coast got some seeds. THSC’s Neil Smith gave some to Butch Taylor, seasoned grower and owner of Zydeco Hot Sauce. He grew them in soil containing a magic ingredient: worm poo. Or, more precisely, liquid runoff from a nearby worm farm.
Be the alchemical component Trinidad’s Sun, Aussie knowhow or small wriggly creatures’ turd, Butch Taylor soon had some very serious chillies on his hands. By now, The Chilli Factory and the Trinidadian Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) were also both involved and looking for recognition as the originators of the newly named Trinidad Scorpion Butch T. When sending out seeds to customers, friends or testers, Butch Taylor would write his first name and last initial on the packet. “BUTCH T”. It was so manly, memorable, and befitting of the savage chilli, it stuck.
Butch Taylor’s been growing his world-famous (in fire-breathing circles) Trinidad Scorpion Butch T’s now for at least 9 years and the strain is considered stable and consistent. Some say the Butch T is a cross between a Trinidad Scorpion and a firestorm. Butch Taylor is keeping it secret and hoping to use it to create even more bewilderingly ferocious peppers in the future. I know not.
If you can get past the sensation of holding a tiny branding iron in your mouth, the Butch T has a fruity, floral, slightly citrus flavour.
Butch T’s have a knobbly skin surface like Bhut Jolokia or Naga Morich peppers, but are plumper and often sprout a little ratty tail, telling tales of the Butch T’s relation to the Trinidad Scorpion, and of its revered potency.
“They’re just severe, absolutely severe,” said Marcel de Wit, chef and director of The Chilli Factory. “No wonder they start making crowd-control grenades now with chillies. It’s just wicked.”
When handling Butch T’s, Marcel’s crew take necessary precautions: “If you don’t wear gloves your hands will be pumping heat for two days later”. Well, you know what they say – if it’s too hot to handle, eat it. Actually, they don’t say that. What idiot would say that. But that’s what we like to do anyway. And it’s not as stupid as you may think: Butch T’s and other chilli peppers stimulate the metabolism. They fight cancer. They help diabetics. They are vitamin-rich and contain immune-boosting antioxidants. They reduce cholesterol… click on the “Benefits of Peppers” header of our website for the comprehensive rundown of the amazing and reassuring things they can do for us mere mortals.