There’s hot – and then there’s so hot you can't eat it on the off chance it might literally burn your airways and kill you.
That’s ‘Dragon’s Breath’ for you – the world’s new hottest chili accidentally created by a Welsh farmer.
Mike Smith, a fruit grower and competitive show gardener from Denbighshire in Wales, was simply looking to create an nice-looking chili tree for the famous Chelsea Flower Show.
Instead – by collaborating with scientists from Nottingham Trent University – Smith developed a chilli with the highest rating ever recorded on the Scoville heat scale – 2.48 million heat units, surpassing the rival Carolina Reaper (which measures at 2.2 million heat units.) That effectively makes the Dragon’s Breath chilli weapons-grade hot.
“It was a complete accident but I’m chuffed to bits – it’s a lovely looking tree,” Smith told the Telegraph.
No one has actually tried eating the chilli yet, as scientists say it would likely cause your airways to close up from the burn. You would then most likely go into anaphylactic shock and die, so, probably not worth it.
That doesn’t mean the chilli won’t go to good use, however. The chili’s capsaicin oil is so strong that it numbs the skin, meaning it could serve as an excellent anesthetic (particularly for those allergic to painkillers, or those in developing countries with limited access to anaesthetics.)
“I’ve tried it on the tip of my tongue and it just burned and burned," Smith said. "I spat it out in about 10 seconds. The heat intensity just grows.”
As does our curiosity, but somehow we think we'll be able to pass up a taste test.