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Butch T Scorpion Pepper

Heat: 1,463,700 SHU as tested
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: chinese
Cultivar: Trinidad Scorpion Butch T

Trinidad Scorpion Butch T

The Butch T strain of the Trinidad Scorpion pepper is one of our favorites because it was essentially crowd sourced.  Butch Taylor, of Zydeco Hot Sauces is generally credited with refining the strain.  However, the process of accomplishing the task involved many from various internet based forums dedicated to the emerging chili head community.  So much so that without the internet, the world would not likely have the Butch T pepper.

Previous to his refinement of the Butch T strain, Mr. Taylor experimented with cross breeding various habanero since 1990.  He shared seeds with friends and folk he met on internet forums.  Often he asked only that recipients of his seeds let him know if he was onto something special.  At the time, the Red Savina pepper held the Guinness World Record title for hottest pepper in the world.

Mr. Taylor did manage to create a pepper whose heat exceeded that of the world record holder.  Unfortunately, he was unable to refine the genetics into a stable strain.  When the Trinidad Scorpion caught his attention, he shifted his efforts from cross breeding to refining.

Butch continued with his policy of sharing seeds with friends and the folk he met on internet forums, asking each to let him know if he was onto something hotter than the more traditional scorpion peppers.  That is exactly how he would learn that he had indeed come up with something unique.

A man named Neil Smith had received seeds from Butch Taylor.  He passed those seeds on to Marcel de Wit of The Chilli Factory.  She grew the seeds and began to notice something different when the first pods were slightly different from the typical scorpion pepper.  The shape, texture, and even color looked to be something new.  Once ripe, it was clear that the taste and heat was also different.  Marcel felt the strain was likely much hotter than the hottest.  So much so that Marcel went threw the official process of having the new strain tested for heat levels.

To Mr. Taylor’s complete surprise, when Marcel de Wit had the peppers tested and ranked, Marcel named them the “Trinidad Scorpion Butch T”.  Labratory results rated the Butch T strain at 1,463,700 Scoville heat units, making it the hottest pepper in the world at that time.  It held that title for about three years until the world champion was unseated by the Carolina Reaper.  And that is where an interesting conflict in opinion can be found.

The folk at Guinness awarded the Carolina Reaper the title of hottest pepper in the world base on average scoville heat units of the peppers they tested.  There are many who claim the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T has produced peppers much hotter than the Carolina Reaper’s recorded high.  Add to this the factors of growing environment and I feel chances are the two peppers are comparable.

What makes the Butch T pepper unique from the Carolina Reaper is the crowdsourcing.  All legitimate Butch T pepper seeds are the offspring of the variety grown by Marcel de Wit.  In fact, Butch Taylor himself is not entirely sure how he created those first seeds.  He suspects it is the result of an unintended cross between the Trinidad Scorpion and a an as yet unnamed pepper of a different variety.  Thing is, he is unsure.  So the Butch T strain has become a true heirloom, passed on from seed saver to seed saver.

When specifically asked if his intention was to create the world’s hottest pepper, Butch Taylor observed:

“I love growing the super hots, but somehow they just find me.” – Butch Taylor from an interview with Chili Pepper Madness

By: A.J. Drew


Specifics:

Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: chinense
Cultivar: Trinidad Scorpion Butch T
AKA: Trinidad Butch T, Butch T pepper, Butch T Trinidad Scorpion, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T
Height:36-48 in
Spacing: 16-18 in apart with rows 5-6 ft apart
Germination Time: Typically 10 days at 75 degrees f
Days to Maturity: 85 – 100 days
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Heat:1,463,700 SHU
Pepper Size: 2 to 4 inch average, up to 6 inches
Pepper Color: Matures from Green, to orange, to red.

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