As long as I have been alive I have seen a bottle of Tabasco in my house. The sauce had always been a staple in my family; used on everything from apples, to zucchini. I suppose it was the sauce that introduced me to the world of heat and pointed me into this very addictive hobby.
The ingredients of the sauce are super simple containing a salt specific to Avery Island Louisiana, distilled vinegar, and capsicum frutescens peppers that are lovingly picked by hand. Right up front it doesn't sound like too special of a sauce and pretty simplistic in its design but what is not covered on their ingredients list is how the sauce is made. Firstly, the ingredients mashed up and placed in white oak barrels. Some say this is a falsity that McIlhenny has spread and that the barrels are in fact black walnut and yet others say the barrels are red oak. One thing for sure, the barrels are part of the magic. Next, they let the sauce sit, and sit, and sit. They let the sauce sit for a long time. In most cases, for the regular red sauce it sits for up to three years but in some situations a Tabasco reserve will sit for much longer. Lastly, the barrels aren't washed so the flavors are never lost.
Since 1868, TABASCO Pepper Sauce has been made with just three ingredients: fully aged red peppers, Avery Island salt and distilled high-grain natural vinegar. This simple recipe - when brought together and aged with the greatest care and attention - produces the incredibly pungent, fiery pepper sauce that's beloved the world over.
So let's get down to business in summarizing Tabasco. I'm not sure if it is out of respect to the century old sauce or because of the fact that it is a household name and reviewing it would be akin to reviewing ketchup that I have never seen a written review of Tabasco. I figure, since the design and intent of Tabasco's creation is to give flavor and heat to food products then it has a place on a heat related blog.
Aroma - The smell of Tabasco is eye watering. It has a strong pungent bouquet that tells you that the sauce is going to come at you with a vigor. It's not a warning, but an invitation to you to consume it and to consume it in large quantities. I give maximum points for its aroma. It smells fantastic.
Taste - By itself Tabasco has a nice roasted, smoky flavor that is well balanced with salt, sour, and sweetness. It has a good after taste in that there is no bitterness that would make the taster look for something else to replace it with. The after taste feels actually very cleansing as a whole without being over powered by any other ingredient. It is a very harmonious flavor to the palate.
Pairing the sauce with food gave a nice taste to the food. It made the food taste wholesome and seemed to bring out the true taste of the item I sampled it in which was a chicken pot pie. The chicken pot pie by itself was okay, but when I added the Tabasco it intensified the ingredients making it much more delectable.
Appearance and Texture - We all know what color Tabasco is. Tabasco has maintained the same natural red color for 114+ years of service. It's beautiful. The viscosity of the sauce is quite thin but, because they keep a lot of the pulp in their sauce it has massive clinging ability and sticks to what it is put on.
[ad 2]Heat - Tabasco is for eating. It is a condiment and designed to add that extra bit of zing to the food. It is a great starter sauce and should be used daily as a condiment and food enhancer. The heat is there and it clings nicely to the palate. Starters into the hot sauce craze will find it with a good deal of heat but nothing too eye tearing. It will cause the sniffles and make the consuming individual a bit warm. The heat from Tabasco is purposeful and concise from bottle to bottle. It is pure perfection.
Price and packaging - You know what? Who cares?
Tabasco is a national treasure made with absolute love in America for over a century. The McIlHenny Company has earned their place on our dining room table and should be a part of every American's food pantry. If you don't have any in your home then by all means buy some today. You won't regret it.