Lynn's Ramblings

Tobasco BottleWhile on holiday in Costa Rica in January 2005, I came across a bottle of Tabasco that was not made by McIlhenny of Avery Island, Louisiana, USA.  I don't speak Spanish and relied on Google's translator.  It appears that this Tabasco was made in Costa Rica by Unilever de Centroamérica under their Lizano brand name and distributed throughout Central America.

As any of you chile heads already know, the US government improperly gave McIlhenny a trademark on the name Tabasco.   Ever since McIlhenny sues or threatens to sue anyone in the US who even thinks of using the term "tabasco", even if it is to identify an item in an ingredient list.

Tabasco is the name of variety of chiles of the species, Capsicum frutescens.  It is also the name of the state in Mexico from which Tabascos are said to have been brought to the US.  It's as if US government allowed the registration of the single-word name, Jalapeno or Lime or Louisiana, but then we do have the best government that money can buy.

The Lizano label appears to be generic because the chiles shown are not Tabascos and the name "Tabasco" is just added in the center.  The label chiles look like Capsicum annuum, possibly variety Santa Fe Grande or Fresno.   Most likely they are just an artist's rendition of generic chiles.

The Lizano Tabasco sauce is almost indistinguishable in taste, appearance and heat from the McIlhenny Tabasco, but Lizano's is a lot less expensive.

Tobasco Label

Lynn Ashley
Lynn Ashley
recipes at
01 February 2005
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