Why do we age our pepper mash? Because we don’t hurry perfection!

Hand-picked peppers aged in white oak barrels give you bold, well-rounded flavor.

Edmund McIlhenny

By 1868, TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce creator Edmund McIlhenny had experimented enough to know that the complex, distinctive flavor he so loved could only be achieved by the long-term aging and fermenting of a mash made from fully ripened peppers. So that’s what he did – and McIlhenny Company continues much the same process to this day.

After our fully ripened, bright red peppers are picked, they are mashed and mixed with a small amount of Avery Island salt extracted from the salt mines that lie beneath the island. The pepper mash is placed in white oak barrels, and the wooden tops of the barrels are then covered with more Avery Island salt, which acts as a natural barrier to protect the barrels’ contents. The mash is allowed to ferment and then age for up to three years in the McIlhenny warehouse, after which it is inspected by a McIlhenny family member and further processed into our world-famous Original Red Sauce and our prized Industrial Formulations.

No Aging

  • Raw orange color
  • Bitter flavor
  • Simple, pronounced heat
  • Separation due to fewer pepper solids

Aged 3 Months

  • Darker orange/red color
  • More complex flavor
  • Umami-like characteristics begin to emerge

Aged 3 Years

  • Dark red color
  • No bitter taste
  • Concentrated, complex flavor
  • Mature, smooth pepper taste