Note that unlike the latter two, capsaicin is virtually insoluble in water, so washing your mouth after you bite more than you can chew is rather ineffective. It is, however, readily dissolved in fats or ethanol, so a glass of non-skim milk or a shot of liquor would make you feel better almost instantly.
There are innumerable brands of hot sauce out there with names like Torch, Hell's Breath, and the like. Most are the same sauce - as in made at the same time using the same recipe and by the same manufacturer. This naturally hasn't stopped hot sauce aficionados from getting into huge fights over which is the best.
There are several real-life hot "sauces" that aren't actually sauces at all. Many manufacturers whose hot "sauces" skirt the upper limits of the Scoville scale advertise special "pure capsaicin hot sauces" that are actually made of pure capsaicin that has been diluted with vegetable oil. However, such "sauces" are lethally toxic and thus are not intended for actual human consumption. They are novelty collector's items, not actual condiments, and thus only technically qualify as examples of this trope.
A restaurant in Tallahassee, Florida, was once shut down by the Leon County Health Department on charges of toxic chemical contamination (and the owner cited for Reckless Endangerment) after they began featuring food that had been "spiced up" with one of these additives. These things will kill you if you ingest too much of them.
"Pure cap" can be legally sold as a food additive. That is, you're supposed to add it to things in quantities like "a teaspoon per gallon". You are NOT supposed to actually use it as a condiment, or leave it sitting around where some idiot could do so.
A good rule of thumb about pure cap and additives of that scale is to treat them as "Foodservice Strength" additives: meant for preparing meals for LOTS of people at a time. Unless you're dealing with large quantities of food, use the smallest dosage possible, say one crystal (such as the type that capsaicin forms when pure).
Consider the Naga/Bhut Jolokia pepper (AKA the "Ghost Chili"), the hottest pepper in the world at one time. It has a Scoville Scale rating of 850,000 to 1,500,000 (compare that to a Jalapeño, which has a Scoville rating between 2500 and 8000, or even the Habanero pepper, which tops out at 350,000). You have to use protective gear to cook with this thing, and that's not a joke: they're literally hot enough to irritate skin. Cooking with them in the traditional sense is impossible. Most people in Bangladesh, from where the breed originates, only dip it into the cooking pot for a few seconds, while smearing the rest of the pepper on their fence as an elephant deterrent.
It had been upped in March 2011 by Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T," Guinness World Records attest. And this is already pushing it toward genetic engineering (i.e. not something that grow naturally in some place). Said link now shows the Butch T topped a year later by the "Carolina Reaper", ranking in at 1,569,300 Scovilles.
Do note that these are not technically the hottest substance found in nature; some plants have extremely pungent substance called Resiniferatoxin that ranks at 16 billion Scoville. Such substances aren't capsaicin and probably should not be used as condiment.
The "-toxin" ending is a big clue here. It turns out the substance can literally kill the nerve cells responsible for the sensation of pain, so it's being looked into as a potential treatment for sufferers of chronic pain.
In Minneapolis, there's a place called Marla's Caribbean. It serves Ghost Pepper Wings - buffalo wings made with ghost pepper sauce. Bear in mind, ghost pepper is usually applied with an eyedropper.
The phaal is a British speciality whose selling point is that it's basically chicken in Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce. Most curry houses don't actually list it on the menu but will serve it if you specifically ask for it; the staff will look on warily as you eat. If it's anything to go by, it's hotter than the vindaloo, and even that's overpowered to the tongues of many.
According to Jasper Carrott, the phaal is so called because the usual response after eating it is "FFFFFFFFFFFFFF... I'll be all right...". The Geordies attempted to one-up it with the even hotter 'magmaloo', which according to Carrott comes in a bowl made of Space Shuttle re-entry tiles, comes with a side order of Savlon, and has a tendency to melt spoons. And fillings.
While colorful, this description is false. Capsaicin is not corrosive, nor does it "melt" things, nor does it generate any heat. The reason for the "burning" is, it mimics a neutransmitter used for activating the burning sensation in mammals. It opens the nerve channel as if you were really being burned. Thus, your brain thinks you are being burned when you really aren't and responds accordingly. The pain is an illusion, it is quite literally all in your head. The reason high doses of capsaicin can be toxic is because after a point, your brain thinks you are being burned so badly that it will cause the body to mount a "response" to a non-existent burn, which can cause severe inflammation in tissues, and this can actually cause real problems.
Another legend is that "phaal" is a Bengali word meaning "stupid drunk white man".
There's a curry house in Edinburgh that held a phaal-eating contest that ended up hospitalising several of its contestants. Said curry house has clippings of the newapaper story in its window as advertising. Possibly the only time "our food induces vomiting" has been cited as a positive quality.
Burns victims often say that when they are actually on fire, there is no pain. It has something to do with the body pumping out adrenaline in such vast quantities that the nerve endings stop working. Well, it wasn’t like that for me. The pain started out mildly, but I knew from past experience that this would build to a delightful fiery sensation. I was even looking forward to it. But the moment soon passed. In a matter of seconds I was in agony. After maybe a minute I was frightened that I might die. After five I was frightened that I might not.
Even Tabasco sauce (comparatively mild to most everything else on this list) has some rather impressive corrosive properties. It is said that the forklifts used to transport the oak barrels in which the stuff is aged have to be replaced every two years, because the Tabasco mash eats through the forklift blades.
An episode of Mythbusters featured Adam and Jamie testing whether hot sauce (like common salsa) could be used to break out of prison by corroding the iron bars. The result was that with enough time (which is a lot if you are in prison) it is possible to break the bars with salsa. Jamie also showed that with a little DC current from a radio (like if the inmate smuggled one in) you could potentially speed up this process since the salsa was a good conductor.
It is important to point out that hot sauce also contains citric acid and, often, vinegar. Many forms of salsa also contain a good deal of salt, which has corrosive properties in the right circumstances.
Any metal corrosion caused by Tabasco is due primarily to the vinegar. Capsaicin has no effect whatsoever on metal. Or birds, which lack the sensory receptors for it and will happily eat peppers that mammals (which do have the receptors for it) avoid as if they were on fire. Which is probably the reason why hot peppers evolved like that in the first place; birds will spread the seeds over a much wider area than mammals do and will tend to drop intact seeds rather than partially-digested ones.
Wasabi sauce is another notable variant. A Japanese team won the 2011 Ig Nobel prize for chemistry for patenting a fire alarm for the deaf that sprays out aerosolized wasabi. The smell of wasabi can wake up sleepers in under 10 seconds.
While clever, such an invention is sadly kneecapped by wasabi's notoriously short shelf-life.
And horseradish, western cousin of wasabi. Especially one sauce used in Ukraine - it is mixed with Russian Mustard, which is damn hot already and an extra helping of salt. It does taste good with borscht, if you apply it in a thin layer on bread.
Actually, most wasabi sauces in the world — yes, even in Japan — are exactly that: horseradish mixed with mustard and dyed green, because the real wasabi is a very finicky plant, requires the exacting growing condition, its root doesn't keep well after digging up and loses its pungency in minutes after grating. The substitute is just that easier to use (not to mention cheaper).
Certain parts of Africa cover up the low quality of their beef by cooking it in a concoction known as "pepper soup" using small wild peppers which seem to only be used for that purpose. It is successful in covering the taste of the beef, as well as everything else for the next week.
There's also been some research indicating those hot peppers can stave off food poisoning, which may explain their popularity in places where the heat makes food and water a bit suspect.
And planting chilies around the edges of your fields is a great way to keep elephants off your crops, precisely for this reason.
Korean kimchi. Several varieties are just painful to even smell, let alone eat. South Korea has very low rates of intestinal parasite infection and tooth decay, but also high rates of stomach cancer.
Several regions in China are known for having extremely spicy cooking due to a combination of weather conditions, availability of spices, attuned palates and the occasional need to mask less than optimal ingredients. Sichuan cuisine in particular is infamous and a local joke says the people there essentially worry that a dish isn't spicy enough, though the peppers responsible for the heat (and the blood red color of dishes that use lots of it) also have a numbing effect — this has to do with the liberal use of Sichuan pepper, which has small black hot seeds in a deep red leathery shell that has a numbing effect on the palate.
One traditional variant of "Chinese Chili Chicken" requires you to heat a pot of peppers to boiling point, then cook the chickens in it. It basically fries the chicken in chili oil, with little else seasoning it. Diners are expected to eat only the chicken, but most people eat the peppers anyways.
Iron Chef Chen Kenichi, who specializes in Sichuan cooking, usually toned down his mapo doufu when he made it to better suit the palates of the (mostly Japanese) judges. In the King of Iron Chefs tournament, when he took on Kobe in Battle Tokyo X (a type of crossbred pork), he decided that since it might be his final battle ( It wasn't.) he'd go all out and make his mapo doufu how how he'd have it, i.e. extra spicy. One of the cameramen who stood too close to it started coughing just from the fumes and had to pull away. Sumo yokozuna Akebono (who, perhaps significantly, is American—he's from Hawaii) enjoyed it though.
Hunan cuisine is related, if differing slightly in the fine details; Sichuan's numbing heat involves the use of Sichuan peppercorns, whereas Hunan cuisine has no compunctions about constantly reminding its consumers of its spiciness by virtue of pure chili volume.
Some... people... believe that hot spices can cure or worsen cancers.
Blair's, who created the one that illustrates the main page (and the maker of the sauce described in the anecdote linked near the top). Best part? It's not even their strongest. They even made a limited edition product with pure capsaicin, reaching 16 million Scoville units - several times hotter than pepper spray, which usually tops at 5 million, because it dilutes pure cap for the ease of use.
Maitland, Florida restaurant Tijuana Flats, whose hottest sauce (Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally - Chet's Gone Mad) is about 1.5 million Scoville units, more than enough to actually feel burning on your skin if you placed some on there.
Nicko McBrain's restaurant Rock N' Roll Ribs (also in Florida, Coral Springs). The escalation even uses songs from Nicko's band to lampshade: it started with Mild, Medium, Hot, Run to the Hills. Then it became Mild, Medium, Hot, Die with your Boots On (which replaced RTTH after one complained it wasn't hot enough), and Heaven Can't Wait.
Mustards usually don't go as hot as pepper-based sauces, but Russian mustard takes the cake. Even in small quantities it's a fine (but not nice) cure for snuffle. It is because Russian mustard is a) made with brown (AKA Indian) mustard seed, which is more potent per se, and b) because it is traditionally brewed with boiling water, which extracts much more of the active compound. Forget English mustard mentioned below, half teaspoon of a good Russian mustard will make your eyes pop out.
Many restaurants specializing in hot wings will offer some sort of challenge to anyone who can eat a certain number of their hottest wings in a fixed amount of time. Some up the ante by saying that the customer is not allowed to consume anything else within five minutes that would counter the burn.
To unsuspecting continentals, especially Germans and Frenchmen, English mustard can do this. Americans raised on that bright yellow concoction hot dogs are slathered in are also susceptible. Those that aren't warned off by the vivid yellow color tend to sorely regret applying the same quantities of English mustard as they would of their native blends.
Please note: if it comes out of a jar, it's adulterated with stuff to make it shelf-stable and spread better. 'Real' Colman's mustard is a yellow powder - of pure powdered mustard seed. Made into a thin paste with water per directions, two teaspoons is enough to make a plate of mashed potatoes into yellow mouth-napalm.
And note that Colman's uses yellow mustard seed. It is possible to make or obtain ground brown mustard seed. As noted above, brown mustard is even more potent than yellow; anything Colman's would do, brown mustard seed will do even more.