Before we dive into the review of this pepper, I’ve just gotta state that I do not have any input in the naming of some of the pepper strains that I grow. Some of them make sense to me while others, like the Naga Smooky Rainbow, just baffle me. That said, I think this name is hilarious.

The Naga Smooky Rainbow’s lineage has not been revealed as far as I am aware, but I can say that the plant and pepper are impressive. Grown in a 13 gallon pot, my particular plant grew to roughly three feet in diameter and produced a few hundred of the small fruit. The plant thrived and I believe, had I grown it in the raised bed, would have been much larger in size and produced even more fresh pods.

Naga Smooky Rainbow pepper

While the ripened pepper is attractive with the dark red and purple streaks, it’s the entire ripening process that truly impresses. These roughly one inch, wrinkled pods start out near black and stay that way for most of their time on the plant, only shifting color at the end of the process. The skin is smooth and wrinkled, giving the impression that the pepper is slightly dehydrated. This “dehydrated” look is different than most other examples of the pepper I have seen online, so I’m not sure if I have a slightly different variant or if I was missing any nutrients in my soil.

At any rate, cutting one of the fresh Naga Smooky Rainbow fruit open produces a fruity aroma with a hint of distant floral notes. The smell is enticing and carries a hint of peppery heat. The flavor follows suit with a lightly floral presence, a good bit of fruitiness and a bit of an earthy quality as you crunch through the thin skin.

Naga Smooky Rainbow pepper

The heat arrives after the first couple of bites, building slowly to a decent tongue burn. Everything peaks at the low end of the habanero spectrum and is easily manageable. The heated tingle lingers for a nice while with a mellow character.

The Naga Smooky Rainbow is a pretty tasty little pepper with a moderate burn that would be suitable in just about any culinary endeavor. It’s not going to be a pepper that you need to hunt down, but if you like to grow a wide variety of peppers – both in terms of plant appearance and flavor – it’s definitely a fun one to have in your garden.