The Reaper’s Child

Hello again spice lovers, I hope you’re having a great thursday. This time I’m going to be bringing you a review out of schedule.

Why? Because I’m not reviewing a product or even anything you can get your hands on. I’m reviewing a new breed of chilli I received in the mail from a friendly user of The Hot Pepper forums, Trident chilli.

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Now Trident isn’t your average chilli grower. He’s a specialist. Every single plant he grows, and he grows a tonne, is a scotch bonnet or scotch bonnet hybrid.

This is no exception.

The Obeah, as its little packet calls it, is a second generation cross between the record holding carolina reaper and a special strain of bonnet released by the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture. It is currently rather unstable and the pepper I have been sent was, in fact, a reject that didn’t have this breed’s true shape. That’s why there are no seeds in here. The breeder didn’t want me growing out a faulty strain.

Said breeder, STEVE954 of the same forums, did provide a picture of the true form of his creation, though:

obeah

A beautiful four-lobed scotch bonnet shape with a smaller version of the same structure taking the place of what might otherwise be the famous reaper scythe. The colour looking almost luminous on camera, with peachier orange tones further up. This thing will be one pretty chilli once it’s stabilised.

Regardless of its instability, however, I am assured that the flavour of these pieces should still be a good representation of its eventual public release: A smooth combination of fruity scotch bonnet and the calmer taste of the reaper, in my opinion two of the tastiest peppers around.

Unlike the reaper though, this one isn’t superhot. It doesn’t break the million scoville mark but it is hot. Very hot. This pepper is estimated to have heat between five and six hundred thousand scoville, roughly twice the heat of your average scotch bonnet or habanero and on par with the red savina.

But is it really all that? Well, if the interesting texture of its inner walls is anything to go by, they may well be coated with the same placental tissue, or pith, that gives the ghost pepper its insane heat. If anything, six hundred thousand could be an underestimate.

Feel free to look and judge the texture for yourself though.

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And indeed, when I stick it in my mouth, it comes in strong. I get a moment of little taste and no heat before my saliva rehydrates it but, after that, the heat grows pretty rapidly from a mild, slightly soapy-feeling cheek warmth to a high and slightly sour all over mouth burn. Like a cross between reaper and bird’s eye mouth feels.

I’m struggling to put an exact number on it in dried form but it got my nose running slightly and had me hiccuping despite an almost complete lack of throat burn, which is impressive.

Some fragments have a vast amount more heat than others, though, and whether it feels sour and soapy also seems a little variable, suggesting that the walls aren’t, in fact, lined with placental tissue after all. Or, if they are, it’s very mild.

No, the main heat of this pepper comes from the real placenta, which seems to me to be on par with or maybe even a little hotter than that of a dried ghost pepper. If this thing is rating a mere five to six hundred thousand then it’s the flesh itself that’s bring it down. This is not a pepper for the average person but should easily satisfy thrill seekers.

I’m going to estimate that, in a good sauce, this pepper would probably rate at a strong

4.5/10

Heat

though it’s a fair bit hotter the way I’m eating it and I wouldn’t want to have a fresh one whole.

It’s not unbearable dried but, even from some of the smaller bits, my tongue is definitely throbbing.

Flavour-wise, however, I’m not really sold. There are elements of the scotch bonnet and very slight hints of the reaper but the depth of each seems to be entirely missing and it tastes mostly like a generic dried red chilli. Which is a real disappointment, given how much I love both the ones it’s bred from.

It does smell absolutely amazing, mind you, like a better rounded out reaper. It has elements of sweet dried fruit, similar to the passilla but less obviously raisin-like.

People also sometimes talk about the reaper having cinnamon notes and, while I don’t believe for even a second that there is any cinnamon to the smell of this pepper, there is something subtle there that is vaguely reminiscent of that type of gentle, warming spice.

So, in the hopes of getting a little more depth out of the taste, I rehydrated the remaining two thirds in warm water. The smell that that gave off was even greater than that of the dried pepper. Sweet red fruit, with hints of glacé cherry. Unlike anything I’ve smelled or tasted in a chilli before.

But the flavour? Mostly water now.

But I wasn’t giving up. I could tell it wasn’t the chilli’s fault but that of the preservation.

So I made a tomato chutney with it. And it was incredible. At last, the amazing fruitiness came through and it was everything I had hoped it would be. The flavour was gorgeous and the heat was too, losing both the sourness and the bird’s eye like soapy feel and becoming a really long lingering strong burn.

Hot but not insane. With just two thirds of the chilli, my chutney was at the very top of a

3.5/10

Heat

making it just about manageable by your average hot food lover. A powerful but usable chilli with a focus on its extremely fruity flavour despite its strength.

The Obeah is an excellent chilli but not one that dries well. It is a pepper to be cooked with or eaten fresh in a raw salsa, where its flavour can really be appreciated, not one for preserving in this manner or using as a powder.

It is unlikely, therefore, to ever be an easy pepper to get your hands on but, when it does eventually hit the market, it will be well worth tracking down.

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