Chocolate Bhutlah: Earthy At The Extreme

Sweet earthiness, dangerous bite…

Scoville heat units (SHU): ~2,000,000 Scoville heat units
Jalapeño reference point: Up to 800 times hotter
Origin: United States
Products and seeds: Chocolate Bhutlah on Amazon

Just how hot a Chocolate Bhutlah is is up for debate, but there’s no questioning it’s among the hottest peppers in the world. Some even argue this hybrid chili is even hotter than the Carolina Reaper. But in the world of “world records”, stability is key and the Chocolate Bhutlah is likely generations away from having an official shot at a top spot. Still, extreme eaters know this is one wicked hot pepper, and it’s sought for its sweet earthiness and quick (and dangerous) bite.

How hot is the Chocolate Bhutlah?

While a range of heat (typical for chilies) has not been established, the Chocolate Bhutlah tops out at around 2,000,000 Scoville heat units (SHU). That’s hot. Real hot. And it’s known for a quick heat, so it hits fast making it seem even hotter. Against our jalapeño reference point, the Chocolate Bhutlah is at maximum 800 times hotter than a jalapeño.

It sits at the pinnacle of the pepper scale, with the likes of the Trinidad Scorpion (1,200,000 – 2,000,000 SHU), Komodo Dragon (1,400,000 – 2,200,000 SHU), and Carolina Reaper (1,400,000 – 2,200,000 SHU). Though it doesn’t come near the potential heat of current unofficial upstarts like the Dragon’s Breath (~ 2,480,000 SHU max), and the Pepper X (~3,180,000 SHU).

It’s no surprise this pepper sits among the world’s hottest peppers as its roots, although a little murky, are super-hot studs. It’s a hybrid of a Bhut Jolokia (a.k.a. ghost pepper) and a 7 Pot Douglah (a.k.a. chocolate 7 Pot or chocolate douglah), hence the clever “Bhut-lah” name. Though there may be another pepper in the mix leading to its murky heritage. It was originally (and unintentionally) cross-pollinated by Chad Soleski and further refined (perhaps with an additional chili variant) by Steven McLaurin. No matter what, it led to one wicked hot pepper.

What does the Chocolate Bhutlah taste like? Look like?

Like most 7 Pots and other super-hots there’s a sweetness – almost floral – to the chili. That’s paired with the subtle earthiness you typically get from chocolate varieties of different peppers (like the chocolate habanero). These are larger pods than most 7 Pot peppers. But otherwise, they have a similar elongated shape and wrinkled skin you expect with super-hot peppers. They age from green to chocolate brown. It’s in their mature state that they take on their true flavor and extreme heat.

How is it used?

The Chocolate Bhutlah, like most super-hots, is sought out mainly for extreme hot sauces. Though, you can use both the fresh and dried pods to add heat to soups and stews (only a sliver – it goes a LONG way), as well as salsas. The hot sauces, like PuckerButt Pepper Company’s Chocolate Plague, play off the Chocolate Bhutlah’s earthiness to bring something different to the table. In fact, Chocolate Plague is only made from Chocolate Bhutlah and vinegar. It’s all about the unique flavor of this chili.

Where can you buy Chocolate Bhutlah?

While not as widely known as the ghost pepper, the Chocolate Bhutlah is still very popular. Products – including Chocolate Bhutlah seeds, dried chilies, and bhutlah plants – are widely available online. If you’re looking for an easily-found super-hot with an earthy flavor that pushes the envelope of heat, this is it.

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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on June 25, 2022 to include new content.
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Coran "Spicefreak" Sloss

At several points in this article you state roughly 2 million SHU to be the upper limit of the chilli’s heat. Do you have a source for that?