Chocolate Bhutlah

Right from the start of this pepper season, even, perhaps shortly after ordering the seeds form Puckerbutt Pepper Company, I was nervous — no, terrified of my decision. I’ve seen enough Youtube videos and read enough online accounts to know that the Chocolate Bhutlah isn’t a pepper to mess around with. And yet, here we are staring down the barrel of one of the meanest looking peppers I’ve ever encountered.

This particular pod wasn’t overly large or weighty, but its color and wrinkled/blistered facade should have been more than enough of a warning sign that, just maybe, I shouldn’t cut it open and take a look inside. Once the knife had cut through the medium wall with a surprising crunch, I just sat there. Ten seconds. Fifteen. Maybe half a minute passed before I pulled the two halves apart.

And there it was, on display in all its evil glory. Pools of oil welled in every crevice, nook and cranny. The green-tinged placenta stretched stern to stem as a good number of seeds clustered toward the thicker end of the pepper. What have I done?

Chocolate Bhutlah

The aroma that fills the room almost instantly is potent. Floral notes, distant fruitiness and green veggies join that tell-tale capsaicin “hot” character that many of the extremely spicy peppers exude. My eyes have never really been affected just by smelling a pepper prior to this, welling slightly from the pungent aroma.

I thought I had stalled a long while prior to examining the insides — I stared at this thing for a good couple of minutes before finally slicing off a small segment to taste. I wasn’t fearful really, maybe a bit nervous, but I certainly had to build some courage before taking that first, crunchy bite. Perfumey, floral notes, a hint of fruitiness and a slight sweetness are the first and only echoes of flavor my brain received before…

Chocolate Bhutlah

The heat on this Chocolate Bhutlah arrives almost instantaneously with the first chew. It builds incredibly swiftly to an extreme level of burn, even for a small piece of pepper. My eyes watered just as quickly as the heat shows up, never really welling past the bottom lid, but it’s close. The fire hits my chest before it attacks the tongue and throat — like I had just chugged a bottle of high proof whiskey. The nose runs lightly and hiccups make a brief appearance, but don’t last as long as the 10-15 minute intense burn. The chili heat fades slowly to a lasting tingle.

I survived. Phew. This particular pod is, hands down, the most violently spicy thing I have ever put in my mouth. It was surprising how quickly and aggressively it affected my chest and lungs — it hurt to breathe. And all that from a small section of pepper maybe a quarter inch square. I don’t eat whole pods. There are other, more insane, folks out there for that. That tiny chunk of pepper was more than enough for me.

The rest of the pepper was dehydrated along with the first big harvest of the season and ground into a potent blend for later enjoyment/agony.