Dorset Naga: The Hottest Chili In The World

Status: True (I think)
image A British mail-order chili firm, Peppers by Post, claims that it has developed the hottest chili in the world. Its website states:

We – Michael and Joy Michaud – grow chillies and sell them by mail order to customers throughout Great Britain... One of the items in our catalogue is Dorset Naga, an exceptionally hot variety that we developed from a Bangladeshi chilli known as Naga Morich. In 2005 we collected a sample of this chilli, and had it tested for heat by two laboratories in the USA. The result, measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), were astounding: taking an average of the two, Dorset Naga came in at 923,000 SHU. To put this figure in context, the Guinness world record for the hottest chilli is currently held by Red Savina, which was once measured at 577,000 SHU... This makes Dorset Naga more than 50% hotter than Red Savina, and clearly a contender for the title ‘hottest chilli in the world’.

The rest of the website is full of facts and information about the Dorset Naga, making me inclined to believe that what they say is true: that the Dorset Naga really is the hottest chili in the world. But here's the catch. The news about the Dorset Naga appeared in many newspapers on April 1. The April 1st United Press International article notes:

They said they even have to wear gloves when they harvest the seeds. "Most people don't cook with it; they just have it near to them when they eat," said Aktar Miha, of the Indis Bangladeshi restaurant in Bournemouth, England. "If you don't know what you are doing it could blow your head off."

That kind of sounds like they're joking. Nevertheless, I don't think the Dorset Naga is a joke. But real or not, I don't plan to ever try this stuff. I like my taste buds too much to do that to them.


Posted on Sun Apr 09, 2006


You can buy pure capsaicin, 17 times hotter than that:
Posted by Splarka  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  12:04 AM
You know.. Seems every few years, there's a new 'hottest pepper' that comes out..

I remember when I was a kid, Jalapenos were popularized, and anything spicy had to have them or was considered weak.

Then, about fifteen years ago, Habaneros hit the stage. Suddenly, anything hot and spicy had to have these 'ultimate' peppers.

The current trend is Chipotle peppers, which aren't that *hot*, just have more *flavor*.. I guess people have decided that they like being able to taste more than intense burning.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  12:33 AM
Seems to me, the part about wearing the gloves may be true for a reason not mentioned: ever wipe your face or eyes after handling chili peppers? Oh, mama!!! :lol:
Posted by Christopher in Joplin, Missouri  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  05:23 AM
...Don't tell Stephen this is here. He's already tried to convince us of the hottest pepper.
Posted by Maegan  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  08:16 AM
People who do use hot peppers (of this magnitude) for cooking DO use gloves. You're not supposed to touch that stuff. Which makes me wonder, if you can't touch it, why the hell are you eating it?
Posted by Bill  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  08:51 AM
Michael Michaud is familiar to many UK foodies through his appearances on cook Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's organic/downsizing cookery programmes (see

Michaud is American (judging by his accent) and regularly makes contributions on polytunnel growing - particularly chillies and tomatoes.

So unless, he's playing an April Fool's joke his claim deserves proper consideration.
Posted by AP  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  09:37 AM
I take it for granted that those peppers are really, really hot, but the claim that they are the hottest in the world seems more dubious. Generally, all the alleged hottest peppers I've seen and tried are derivatives of the caribbean-type peppers such as Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, and all their cousins. These are not the same species (Capsicum frutescens) as most of the peppers we know and love (Jalapeno, Chipotle, Serrano, Poblano, etc.), but another member of the genus Capsicum (C. chinense, although they are not from China). So the claim that "Dorest Naga" orginated in Bangladesh makes me suspicious.

Chipotle, by the way, is merely a smoked, ripe Jalapeno.

The other descriptions are no doubt true, though. It is always a good idea to wear rubber gloves when handling hot peppers. And the first time I took a bite out of a fresh Habanero (I used to grow them on my balcony), I involuntarily slammed myself against the kitchen wall in a reflex reaction.

So why eat something you can't even touch with your hands? Well, machismo has a lot to do with it. But it's also true that capsaicin (the hot chemical in chiles) stimulates the production of endorphins (natural opiate-like chemicals) in the brain, so burning up your tongue can produce a kind of natural high.
Posted by Big Gary in Glen Rose, Texas  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  11:13 AM
There is indeed a variety of Indian/Pakistani pepper known as the Naga. I have seen them for sale in the Pakistani grocers in Normanton (the Indian quarter of Derby), but I have not yet had the courage to eat one or use one in my cooking. The samples displayed certainly do look like the Nagas I have seen for sale.

As to whether you could grow Nagas in Dorset, I have no idea.
Posted by John  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  12:16 PM
I saw this and thought it was a hoax, but it seems to have been reported quite widely as well as being sold on the website, a company which I can confirm exists because my family have visited them before and brought back some chillies (no mention of the Dorset Naga though, this was in February).
Posted by Owen  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  01:54 PM
I'm not doubting that these peppers exist or that there is a pepper called Naga in the Indian subcontinent, only that it is really the hottest in the world.

Actually, the ones in the photo look like a variation of the red Habanero, which is certainly one of the world's hottest peppers (it's a bit hotter than the more common orange or golden Habanero), but, as I said, it originates in the Caribbean/Yucatan region, not in Asia.
Posted by Big Gary in Glen Rose, Texas  on  Mon Apr 10, 2006  at  02:59 PM
I saw the news report on Meridian News, part of the regianl ITV network, last week. It "looked" genuine enough at the time.
Bascially, he reckons that he chose only certain seeds and kept growing the strongest in the crop and after having an analysis done it showed as being a world record. They showed the paper work and his greehouses on the show and had an interview with a local cornershop guy selling them in a tub.
Didn't really think of it as a joke at the time because most april fool items in the uk tend to be a bit more bizarre. For example a few years back in the local papers they announced a miltary radar dish being installed in the middle of southampton common.
Posted by Alan  on  Tue Apr 11, 2006  at  04:42 AM
Can't say whether it is the hottest in the world but it is stupidly hot. I can confirm they are real - I have three in my fridge at home! There is more info here: and there are currently seeds and pods for sale on ebay uk.
Posted by julian  on  Wed Apr 12, 2006  at  03:03 AM
I spoke with Joy Michaud on the phone on April 3, and I have no doubt in the veracity of the story.

She told me that she sells the majority of the crop to a hot sauce maker who makes Mr. Naga Chilli Sauce.

I sought out the sauce and although it is sold out, found it at Chilliworld.

Tina Brooks
Peppermaster Hot Sauces.
Posted by Tina Brooks  on  Wed Apr 12, 2006  at  08:58 PM
Still not as hot as Da Bomb hot sauce. 1.5 MILLION Scovilles.
While writing this comment, I accidentally burned my nose on this page.
Posted by Ian  on  Thu Apr 13, 2006  at  12:28 AM
Da Bomb isn't a sauce, it's an extract sludge. You can't compare a pepper sauce to an extract; one still actually has peppers in it.

Posted by Tina Brooks  on  Thu Apr 13, 2006  at  09:04 AM
Hello and Greetings from the Philippine Islands.
Here I raise three kids of hot peppers and two types of sweet peppers. The local peppers seem to do much better than the imported varities. We have also raised the Habanero type of peppers, but they were
too hot and we lost the seeds. We hope to bring some seed in for planting in the fall. Would you like us to try raising the Dorset Naga here next year also. Is the seed hybrid or open pollinated?

EM Mantaring
Santol, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines
Posted by EM Mantaring  on  Tue Apr 18, 2006  at  12:20 AM
We're constantly looking for new hot pepper growers, EM. Email me. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Tina Brooks  on  Tue Apr 18, 2006  at  09:31 AM
Does anyone have an email addy for the guy that made this post: There is indeed a variety of Indian/Pakistani pepper known as the Naga. I have seen them for sale in the Pakistani grocers in Normanton (the Indian quarter of Derby), but I have not yet had the courage to eat one or use one in my cooking. The samples displayed certainly do look like the Nagas I have seen for sale.

As to whether you could grow Nagas in Dorset, I have no idea.
Posted by John in UK on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 10:16 AM Send to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Posted by bluelytes  on  Sun Apr 23, 2006  at  10:24 PM
I just published the article on the naga morich at the hot zone blog:

Anyone thinking it was an April Fool's Day joke should read the article.

Posted by Tina brooks  on  Thu May 04, 2006  at  11:06 AM
Well for all those sceptics........

The naga morich has been tested be the respected New Mexico State University (NMSU)Chile Pepper Institute and its offical at 1,001,304 SHU, 4 times hotter than the Red Savinas, they really are the hottest in the world.

Posted by Mark  on  Sat Nov 25, 2006  at  03:59 AM
Well done Mark, were those your peppers or someone else's???

I'm away from home and don't know how my nagas are doing, hopefully they are getting sufficiently watered!

Ultimately, I think we have a winner. The BBC Gardener's World show broadcast results of pepper tests on the 20th October and the Dorset Naga, the British off-shoot of the Naga almost scored a whopping 1.6 million.

See the Warwick Horticulture Research International (HRI) results of the tests shown here:
Posted by Tina  on  Sat Nov 25, 2006  at  08:59 PM
Hi Everyone,

Here is a close up picture of a mock up bottle of our new Naga Snakebite Extreme Sauce. You can almost see the Naga fumes seaping out the bottle. :shock:

Imaguitargod (one of our friends on the hot pepper forum) stupidly ate 1 Naga in his infamous thread.

Imagine what a sauce with upto 10 Fresh Naga Morich peppers in it tastes like

More info (for those interested) can be found on thechileman site (

Posted by Darlochileman  on  Sat Apr 14, 2007  at  02:18 AM
these peppers are for real
it was in national geographic
they really do have untis to measure the heat
a jalapeno is a 5500
and a Dorset naga is a 923,000
but the hottest pepper is said to be the Bhut pepper which is a 1 mil
Posted by Nick Scully  on  Wed May 02, 2007  at  09:28 PM
The Dorset Naga is simply a cultivated breed of the bhut jolokia. The bhut jolokia is aka bih jolokia, Naga, raja mirchi, and about 1000 other names that all mean "effin hot pepper" in some Indian or Bangladeshi dialect.

Fwiw, the Dorset Naga has been clocked at 1.5 mil. They're all capable of it.

It's a wonder to me that the beauty that is this chili isn't its heat, which is extraordinary, but its flavour. This is the most wonderfully pungent chili we have ever had the pleasure to work with. And that goes for whatever name you call it. I always pinch one from the kitchen to keep by my desk. They gas the wonderful aroma of fresh apricots and overripe peaches!
Posted by Tina Brooks  on  Thu May 03, 2007  at  07:51 AM
I am a British Bangladeshi and both of my parents are from Bangladesh.

My mother occasionally adds a Naga morich to a curry just to spice things up, and it always gives me the "runs" the day after.

My grandmother, mother and aunties all grow the naga morich plant every summer and they also grow Bangladeshi vegetables, like the "Khodoo" (I don't know the English name of this vegetable, but you'll find it in every Bengali grocers).

I was wondering if there is anyone out there who would like to create a plantation of Bangladeshi vegetables and fruits. Its good business.
Posted by mohammed  on  Sun Aug 12, 2007  at  11:38 AM
I've been growing this pepper for the last two years and it's every bit as hot as claimed. The trick in cooking is to allow the incredible fruit flavour to come through without being swamped by the heat. Alternatively you can just develop tolerance to the alkaloid.

I'm raising my own hybrids between this and other chinense species this year.
Posted by Ian  on  Tue Sep 25, 2007  at  03:20 AM

I have investors interested in working with Bangladeshis in establishing fair trade certified plantations.

Do contact me.
Posted by Tina Brooks  on  Wed Feb 27, 2008  at  10:10 PM
Negroes usually cant handle really hot & spicy foods.
Posted by Vito  on  Thu Oct 16, 2008  at  05:49 PM
Vito, that's the most uninformed thing I believe I've ever heard anyone say about people who can or can't eat chillies; not to mention that the very idea is just plain wrong.

It has been my experience that ones' ability to eat chillies and their race have nothing to do with each other. There are people of all nationalities who are unable to handle heat, just as there are people of all nationalities who can handle serious heat.

It is entirely a question of personal preference and often a question of practice. The more one eats, the more one can handle.
Posted by Tina Brooks  on  Fri Oct 17, 2008  at  10:45 AM
Yup a bit random from Vito.

Anyhows, am loving the Naga's - apparently chilli pepper pete from the UK has grown some Naga's in Spain which are the current contender for the hottest Chilli in the World.
Posted by Chilli-Alex  on  Fri Nov 20, 2009  at  06:32 AM
Well i can say for sure....The naga is one of the damndest hottest peppers I have personally ever had the pleasure of tasting..SUPER INTENSE heat. I raise the red savina hab and these put it to go ahead and think they are not the hottest pepper in the world, at least one of them..pop one in your mounth then come back and re-post...hahaha.
Peace out.
Posted by DANNY  on  Sun Jan 31, 2010  at  09:17 AM
Not one mention of the TRUE hottest pepper: the BHUT JOLOKIA GHOST PEPPER (1 001 304 SHU), confirmed by Guiness. Originating from Assam (Northeast India), it as also sometimes called the Naga Mircha.

FYI the Dorset Naga appears to be just a poorly grown Bhut Jolokia Ghost pepper.
Posted by Chilihead  on  Mon Aug 02, 2010  at  10:19 AM
I'm curious...

If the "Dorset Naga is a poorly grown Bhut Jolokia Ghost Pepper", then why did it register as 1.5 times hotter than the Bhut Jolokia grown by the Chile Pepper Institute?

See more info here:'s+hottest+chilli+pepper

Perhaps the Michauds are better horticulturists?

Fwiw, they're the same pepper, regardless of where you grow them.
Posted by Tina Brooks  on  Tue Aug 24, 2010  at  10:41 AM
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