FORT MILL, S.C. — On Main Street in downtown Fort Mill, you'll find a store with a funny name whose products are no joke.
The store's real name is PuckerButt Pepper Company and this place is fired up — literally. Inside, you'll find some of the hottest peppers on Earth, including the extremely hot Carolina Reaper.
Ed Currie, the pepper master at PuckerButt, started the business back in 2003. For 20 years he's been responsible for creating several unique hot pepper products on the market. And his store's got it all, selling everything from hot sauce, pepper seeds and pepper mash to other hot products to more more than 95 countries worldwide.
His Carolina Reaper is famous — or infamous depending on your experience — for its intensity. Guinness World Records gave it the title of "World's Hottest Chili" in 2017. The official heat level was 1,641,183 Scoville heat units, according to tests conducted by Winthrop University in Rock Hill.
All that heat comes from capsaicin, the main chemical that makes peppers hot. Heat is measured in Scoville heat units, also known as SHU. This is a scale that measures capsaicin concentration. Jalapeño peppers measure around 3,000 SHU.
"Most of the peppers we're dealing with are around 1.5 million Scoville units or higher," Currie said. "So you're looking at over 300 times the heat of a jalapeño.
"It's like comparing a roller skate to the space shuttle. There is no comparison."
If you thought the Carolina Reaper was as hot as it gets, think again. Currie says he will soon debut the "Pepper X," which apparently registers more than 3 million Scoville units. When certified, this would result in a record he says, "ain't never getting broken."
But don't take our word for it, try for yourself! Maybe start with the milder versions, or if you're brave enough, just "pucker up" with a small sliver of a Carolina Reaper. Click here to learn more about PuckerButt Pepper Company.
Contact Larry Sprinkle at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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