I’ve grown both them and the Trinidad Scorpion. Note that growing conditions and just the inherent variability of peppers will produce various heat levels and may not be close to the world record numbers the hottest varieties of each have produced.
That out of the way, they’re freaking hot. They both remind me a bit of habaneros, but with a more concentrated, intense, and chemically sizzle to them. I love habaneros, but I have to say, I’m not really much a fan of either the bhut jolokia or Trinidad scorpion. They just seem a bit bitter and acrid to me, and although they have some of the fruitiness of a capsicum chinense (those “habanero-type” peppers), the end result to me is chemically. Of the two, I did like the ghost pepper a bit better. The scorps are quite pretty, though.
The trinidad scorpions I grew come with an amusing anecdote. I had been nursing the damned things, growing them from seed, and was so excited when one summer morning I went out into the backyward and finally saw one of the peppers had ripened. I just needed to have a taste right then and there, on an empty stomach. So I pick one off the plant. It’s a tiny pepper, maybe the size of a dime or so. I carefully bite the tip. I wait. I only notice a mild warmth. I carefully take another bite. Hot, I feel something around habanero level, but nothing unbearable. So I just eat the rest. Ah…ok…now I feel a good bit of sharp, intense heat, but nothing a habanero eater is not used to. It’s just that for about half the size the Scorpion packed as much or just a little more punch than a standard habanero.
Then I feel the pepper making its way down my esophagus and drawing a line of heat from my throat to my empty stomach. My stomach is not happy and begins to cramp a little. I drive my wife to the subway and remark that perhaps what I had done was not such a good idea. About a half hour later, my stomach is upset, so I eat some bread and drink some milk, and all is good.
Another half or or so later, my stomach acts up again and feels like it’s full of angry fire ants. There is this concentrated feeling of pain and warmth emanating from my stomach. I run upstairs to bed and lie down. The pain got so bad that I couldn’t even use the laptop to distract me. All I could do is lie on my back, eyes closed, listening to NPR, and wondering whether a trip to the ER was in order. Maybe this was some sort of violent allergic reaction? I get a little light headed and nauseated. I realize that I need to vomit and begin to wonder whether that’s a good idea or whether it’s just going to be fire all the way back up. Eventually, I can’t hold it in anymore, so I run to the toilet and vomit. Thankfully, it wasn’t bad coming back up. I lay my belly on the tile floor to cool it off. After about five minutes, I find the energy to get back up and haul myself back into bed. This time, the fire ant feeling comes back, and I begin to worry, but it subsides after about a half hour. Lesson learned. No ultrahots on a an empty stomach from now on.
This is the only time I’ve ever vomited from eating a hot pepper, and no other pepper has given me this reaction. That said, I blame it on eating it plain on an empty stomach, as I’ve had the Scorpion peppers many times since without incident or any of the same sensations. I just find their flavor (or at least the ones I grew) to be insipid and chemically.