Tabasco sauce is a brand of hot sauce made exclusively from tabasco peppers, vinegar and salt produced in Louisianna by the McIlhenny Company.
Founder, Edmund McIIhenny, from Maryland was a former banker who moved to Luisianna in 1840 and used recycled cologne bottles to distribute his sauce to family and friends.
Edmund died in 1890 and there followed a succession of McIIhenny men culminating in the death of Chairman, Paul McIIhenny, in 2013. McIlhenny have held a royal warrant from the Queen since 2009.
McIIhenny’s peppers are grown in Central and South America. The peppers when picked are compared to a little red stick to ensure quality of production. They are ground into a mash on the day of harvest and placed along with salt in oak barrels. The barrels are then used in warehouses on Avery Island for aging the mash.
The mash is aged for up to three years when it is strained, when skins and seeds are sieved, the liquid is then mixed with vinegar, stirred occasionally and then bottled as finished sauce.
Personally, I find the original Tobasco a little too astringent, so I was delighted to hear that the company had re-imagined its classic product and introduced a new range including a wonderful chipotle-based smokey sauce.
You may be familiar that the “hotness” pepper is measured on the Scoville scale. Tobasco original measure 2,500-5,000 SHU on this scale whilst the chipotle sauce version – which has added chipotle pepper – and as a consequence is much milder measures 1,500–2,500 SHU.
Photo from McIlhenny & Co