Aging Process

Three Years Of Oak Barrel Aging
Isn’t Just A Line In Our Advertising Copy.

Ever wonder what makes TABASCO® different from other pepper sauces? There are a lot of reasons why it’s the world’s favorite – its superior quality, the variety of peppers used and the fact they are picked at the peak of ripeness, and the care and time that go into making it. What truly differentiates TABASCO® is the unique aging process that goes into every bottle.

The Aging Process

In The Fields

Peppers are hand-picked using a Petit Bâton Rouge, or “little red stick” as a guide. Painted the color of a ripe tabasco pepper, the stick ensures only the ripest red peppers are picked.


The peppers are mashed the same day they are picked and placed in white oak barrels to age for up to three years. No other pepper sauce does this. Once the barrels are closed a thick layer of salt is spread on top, creating an air-tight seal. This keeps out oxygen and allows fermentation gases to escape.

The barrels are stacked to the ceilings in our warehouses at Avery Island. They are kept there for up to three years until they have fully aged.

A member of the McIlhenny family personally inspects each barrel of pepper mash and deems the aging process complete. The fully aged mash is then cleaned, drained and mixed with high quality, distilled, vinegar for up to 28 days in 1,800-gallon vats. The resulting sauce is sent to the plant’s floor to be bottled and distributed to over 160 countries and territories around the world. Our time-honored method assures the unique flavor of TABASCO® Sauce which is recognized worldwide.