Written by: Lisa Siemer

Let me tell you a little about the origins of the Tabasco Sauce Controversy…

Tabasco Sauce

Arguably the most popular brand of hot sauce in the world. This simple, delectable condiment is the icing on the cake for those who like to spice things up.

Trademarked by Edward McIlhenny with a history dating back to the civil war, Tabasco Sauce is a quintessential family brand that prides itself on a relatively unaltered recipe and a foundation of employees predominately sharing the McIlhenny name. But coinciding with its history may be some controversy. Was the recipe for Tabasco stolen from another man who should actually be credited with creating this hot sauce? Great products usually have great stories, and this holds true with Tabasco.

Maunsel White and the Tabasco Sauce ControversyDuring the mid 1800’s the market for hot sauces was slim to none. Personally, a world without hot sauce is not one I’d like to be living in, well neither did a man named Maunsel White. A farmer living in Louisiana, Maunsel farmed chili peppers and created what may have been the true, original Tabasco Sauce. And so the Tabasco Sauce Controversy begins to brew….

Limited sources and documents provide evidence that Maunsel manufactured and sold the Tabasco recipe four years prior to McIlhenny putting Tabasco on the market. Maunsell sold his hot sauce under the name Maunsell White’s Concentrated Essence of Tabasco Pepper. Catchy, right? It just rolls off the tongue. Many sources indicate that McIlhenny received his peppers and recipe from Maunsel, but was able to tweak the peppers and the production process before selling his version of Tabasco Sauce (he trademarked the name Tabasco years later).

Since the creation of Tabasco, the McIlhenny Company has made no mention of Maunsel White. The most information they provide regarding that aspect of Tabasco’s history is that Edward McIlhenny obtained some hot pepper seeds from, “a traveler who had recently arrived in Louisiana from Central America.” The plot thickens for the Tabasco Sauce Controversy…

Who Really Created Tabasco Sauce???

So is Edward McIlhenny merely a thief who doesn’t deserve the credit of creating Tabasco Sauce? Or was he in his right to take an idea and make it his own, IF that story is actually true? Well I’d ask yourself this – does it really matter? I say that as long as Tabasco continues to manufacture and sell a reasonably priced, delicious hot sauce then who cares! I’ll continue to buy their product and support a family run company with an interesting history!

Lava Lips
PO Box 50528
Indianapolis, IN 46250