The spice, it burns (a bit)

By Razib Khan | April 11, 2013 3:26 am

A few days ago I came across this four year old article in The Wall Street Journal on the Naga Bhut Jolokia “ghost” pepper, which is reportedly hotter than Habanero. Since none of the local grocers carry the ghost pepper, I went online. I purchased some seeds. But I also ordered Dave’s Ghost Pepper Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce and Volcano Dust Bhut Jolokia Powder. The latter was spicy, but it actually wasn’t too potent. I’d expected a lot more. Think cayenne powder on steroids. On the other hand, the hot sauce was hot. And unlike Dave’s Insanity Sauce there were flavors besides the heat which one could discern. Unlike Dave’s Insanity the Dave’s Ghost Pepper doesn’t taste like it came out of a chemical plant. I heartily recommend it.

  • JonFrum

    Youtube is full of nimrods eating a ghost pepper raw as a ‘challenge.’ The effect seems to go beyond ‘heat.’ It’s more like slamming your tongue in a car door.

  • Sandgroper

    I was amused – my daughter has a physically small Assamese friend at university who is (not unreasonably) somewhat concerned about her personal safety when travelling around alone at night. My daughter suggested getting a pepper spray to carry in her bag (I had located a place she could get one), and the friend said “Oh it’s OK, I just carry a plastic bag full of chilli powder.” She didn’t say if it was bhut jolokia. I read just the other day that they are considering using bhut jolokia in pepper sprays, but the peppers themselves don’t score as high on the Scoville scale as the current generation of sprays (but not *that* far below!) – I don’t know what they use currently, some concentrated suspension of capsaicin extracted from some other species, I presume.

  • razibkhan

    there’s a tie right now. different varieties of jolokia have different spice levels.

  • Stephan Guyenet

    I’m not so sure height is a reflection of good genetic quality. Increased linear growth can result from physiological dysfunction, e.g. genetic melanocortin deficiency or acromegaly. Personally I think selection based on (male) height is related to finding a partner who was well nourished during development and is physically powerful.

    The irony is that our very large stature today (by evolutionary/historical standards) is probably at least in part due to overnutrition during development.

  • Robert Ford

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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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