Writing about the terrifying Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper, I joked about it being weaponised and used in aerial warfare. How hilarious, this ridiculous quip.
It turns out, I was accidentally being prescient. The UK’s otherwise unpalatable Daily Mail newspaper reported that the Naga Viper (only slightly less savage than the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion) is being investigated by defence researchers, as per its potential weaponry uses.
Other stories ran in national papers: “Could you handle the Naga Viper?” and more in the ‘Naga Viper: Attack-Chilli’ vein.
Why all the fuss about the Naga Viper?
1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units is why all the fuss.
To those who don’t understand the meaning of this figure, or why a mere spicy fruit would get so much attention, kindly oblige us and pop one of these little darlings in your mouth. In 5 to 10 seconds, you’ll be up to speed, Granny.
The Naga Viper’s hype might also have a source in some books. Like, oh I don’t know, The Guinness Book of World Records recognising in February 2011 that the Naga Viper is the hottest chilli known to man.
With constant battles for this honour, the chronology of the record can be hard to keep track of. As it stands at the time of writing, the recent sequence goes:
The Right Honourable Bhut Jolokia from India enjoyed the title for several years.
In early February 2011, Bhut the Brute was succeeded by the so-called Infinity Chilli.
Payback for this repulsive lack of naming creativity came swiftly: the Infinity Chilli gave up its throne after a frankly embarrassing two weeks, to the significantly more ferocious Naga Viper, on February 25, 2011.
The Naga Viper held its lofty status for several months, superseded by the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (1.46 million Scovilles), then by the current world record holder: the formidable Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper, the first planet’s first chilli to break the plain dangerous 2 Million+ Scoville mark (which we also sell, you lucky loonies).
Our immutably chirpy friends down under preferred simple, practical, manly advice, over titles and accolades. Australian Geographic stated that the Naga Viper will “sit in your belly” and “burn for an hour”, an expert reassures us.
So we’re clear: the Naga Viper chilli is not a hot chilli. Hot is when you sweat a bit and need some water. The Naga Viper’s effect on the other hand, is more on the “tell my family I’m sorry, I was a fool. And I love them very much” level. The Naga Viper is more an explosive metaphysical exploration of consciousness, obliterating previous mental and physical parameters, than a hot chilli.
If you’re simply after a delicious, very hot spice, do yourself a favour and look at our other chilli sauces instead. The Naga Viper is way, way beyond that. The Naga Viper is only for those of you who are ready for a savage ride, and enjoy taking their brains to new places. Lunatics, in other words. Those among us of a looser mindset, shall we say.
Don’t get me wrong, anyone still reading this. I wouldn’t accuse you of being insane, dear customer. I’m just saying that Naga Viper sauce makes an ideal gargle during your Care in the Community day release.
You still with me? Oh good. Chillies as merciless as the Naga Viper are accustomed to having people politely check that consumers know the exhilarating but vicious burn they’re in for. A London restaurant created a dish of chicken, lightly (lightly) basted in Naga Viper. Delicious. Enjoy your meal Sir. But not before completing this waiver. They produced a document for signature which essentially said that should the customer die, or in some way be injured, tough. But then again, England is almost as daft as North America for over-zealous health and safety. The Naga Viper is perfectly safe. Sort of.
The Naga Viper was the Frankensteinian brainchild of deranged English chilli farmer and pub owner Gerald Fowler. Fowler created the Naga Viper by breeding three of the existing hottest pepper varieties into an unstable three-way hybrid, on his farm in beautiful and horribly wet (he credits the rain for the Naga Viper’s otherworldly capsaicin levels) farm in Cumbria. The Naga Viper’s unstable nature means it cannot produce similar offspring, so seeds must be obtained from the human creator (he currently has 1,200 people on the waiting list for them). So Fowler is a sort of not-evil version of Monsanto.
Fowler is another one who makes sure Naga Viper-eaters know what to expect. He serves Naga Viper-based curries, first making customers sign a disclaimer, incorporating the declaration that they’re “of sound mind and body”. Comforting. But fear not – once you’re past the seemingly relentless waves of tears, numbness, burning pain and the most ridiculous hiccups possible outside a Bill Hicks show (rest his sacred soul), super-hot chillies like the Naga Viper are actually phenomenally good for you. Aside from the famous and often profound chilli euphoria, the Naga Viper 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 Naga Vipers and other peppers can do for us mere mortals.
So while you’re wondering why on Earth you just flirted with the Reaper and swallowed a spoon of rocket fuel, think of the wonderful sunny vigour it’s imparting.