A month ago to the day, UK chilli farm Edible Ornamentals came out with a brand new line they called "Pod Packs" - Simple packs of around ten chillies aimed at growers looking to try before planting.
The varieties on offer, however, were a little less usual. You can the specifics here but, basically, they're growing a wide array of peppers, including some potential record challenger sorts that I've never seen outside the US before.
I was pretty impressed but their numbers were all over the place. Peppers that straight up murdered me were rated below a million and their hottest was a Sugar Rush. A 2-3 million SHU Sugar Rush, if their claims were to be believed.
They called it "Vanilla" because it wasn't the Cream they had expected. Apparently it was a complete surprise when it popped up but the strain is consistently as pictured.
I got in touch because everything they had said seemed ridiculous. I wanted confirmation that there was some vague method to this madness.
They invited me to tour their farm as a free guest and be one of the many tasters who's opinion gives rise to their estimates.
It took a lot of organising and a LOT of travel time. I'm honestly barely even awake as I'm writing this but here goes:
My first bite of the pepper was heatless. Not mild, heatless. Like "oh man that hits the spot and soothes that still burning Fatalii" levels of heatless.
It was the second shred where things got interesting.
The second shred had placenta on it and it was hot. Super hot. Hotter than their Dorset Nagas but not quite Naga Viper or Brain Strain hot. Roughly 1.3 million, at a guess.
But here's the thing: That was a mid-section sliver with just a bit of placenta. The top, where the bulk of it was, would obviously be far hotter.
Considering that, I certainly think its possible that part of this chilli rates as hot as they say. It's also quite obvious, however, that the overall pepper won't. Heatless pod walls will drag its SHU way down and it would need a lot more than a 3 million placenta to beat the Reaper without the superhot mutation. Which it definitely seemed to lack.
And, while they claim that it's a Chinense, its heat felt different to that of Fataliis, Habs or Nagas, too. And its flavour had the same baccatum vegetable elements as fresh Lemondrop.
I never saw the plant or got a good look at the calyx, so I can't say much for sure, but nothing about it screamed chinense to me.
Aside from that, its taste was similar to a Jay's Peach Ghost Scorpion in that it had white pepper elements to it but also something else - A suggestion of another colour, aswell.
It was an interesting flavour. Not as revolutionary as they said but certainly novel and still pretty pleasant. I'd certainly think about using it in a white sauce. Perhaps over fish.
So there you go. That's my take on the mysterious Sugar Rush Vanilla. Hope you lot found it as interesting as I did.