I see everyone is up on the recent record holders, but I thought I would talk about what might be hotter in the future.
Part of what I do is to be growing the next world record holder before it actually becomes the record holder. So here is what is out there and sometimes behind the scenes peppers that aren't being offered yet. There is a guy in Finland with a really nice greenhouse setup that came out with what he called the Fatalii Gourmet Jigsaw. He was saying it would be hotter than the record holder, but that was when the Moruga was the hottest. I finally got some really expensive seeds in (I have my import permit) and I was disappointed with what grew out. The taste was bland and about the same as a Moruga. Even red brain strains taste 25% hotter. There is a really nice lady in Tennessee who grows peppers and sells seeds that has a pepper called the 7 pod Lava. It looks like a Moruga with holes all in it. It's like a golf ball with little capsaicin pockets the entire exterior. Since the proper way to make a stable hybrid is the grow it out for at least 6 generations, choosing the best plants each time to breed with, she is not releasing this yet to the public. I was lucky to be gifted a few of these, and they WERE hot, but it was about as hot as a red brain strain, but it too had an average taste. Chances are this pepper will be improved before it gets released, so something to be looking for in another year or two. It really looks nasty, so it has good possibilities.
A 7 pod Douglah is the hottest chocolate pepper I have tried. It also has a very unique smoky, nutty taste right before the burn goes right down to your throat and feels like a caldron of lava spinning in your throat for a good 10 minutes. This has been crossed with the Carolina Reaper. This would need several generations to stabilize, but the people who have tried this first generation of peppers say they are brutal, and for sure hotter than the reaper. The taste is not supposed to be pleasant.
The next one is more rumor and no fact that I can quote, but even before the reaper was given it's name, it had a hybrid number determination. There are others in that same group with different hybrid numbers. Even before this pepper came out to the public, the people making them had told people there was another one that was much hotter. People have all kinds of opinions about these peppers and it is all speculative, but they think that the people making all this money on seeds will not let these come out until demand for the reapers calms down. There was a lot of controversy on how the reaper was marketed at first and that the first seeds had a terrible amount of genetic diversity. Some people said they wouldn't even buy any reaper seeds and just wait for this other pepper that had already been described as hotter. The reaper came about in the first place for use in cancer research, so we have been told that this hotter one is being used for this purpose and not being released to the general public.
There are others out there that have possibilities, but these are the most likely suspects for the next record holder.
It has been said that why would anyone want anything hotter than what is already out there, but I think this is where making powder comes in. When making powder you lose the fruity taste of the pepper, but what helps some people, you also lose the searing affect that just tears up your insides. When you use powder, you get the taste, and the heat, but the heat goes away quickly and 10 minutes later you don't even know you ate something hot. And you just sprinkle what you want on top of food you want to spice up. If the pepper is hotter, just use less. The key is find a hot pepper that tastes good and don't just pick the pepper because it is the hottest. Tom