Extra virgin olive oil (EXVOO) is renowned for its rich, complex flavor profile and aroma, which is shaped by the careful cultivation, harvesting, and processing of high-quality olives.  The organoleptic characteristics of EXVOO make it a sought-after ingredient in many cuisines around the world.

EXVOO has a very complex flavor and aroma.  As with wine the tastes and aromas can be described in a subjective and complex manner.  Someone may like aromas and flavors that other people find overpowering.

For this reason, there are some guidelines on how to taste and evaluate EXVOO.

There is a reason why tasting takes place in little blue glasses that prevent you from seeing the color of olive oil.  Simply, the color does not determine the quality of EXVOO. So, if the color does not really matter what is important?

When tasting EXVOO, the first sensation is often a subtle bitterness, followed by a fruitiness that is balanced by a peppery pungency. The flavor profile can vary depending on the region in which the olives were grown.

  • Fruitiness: is the aroma related to the maturity of the olive fruit. It can be Green, ripe or more balanced with some EXVOOs exhibiting a more pronounced fruitiness (e.g., citrus, apple) while others may have a more herbaceous or spicy character.
  • Pungency: The pungency of EXVOO is often referred to as “pepperiness,” which is caused by the presence of aldehydes and esters. These compounds are responsible for the sensation of warmth or heat that is experienced when tasting EXVOO. The level of pungency, adds depth and complexity to the flavor profile.
  • Bitterness: The bitterness of EΧVOO is often described as “astringent,” which refers to the sensation of drying or puckering in the mouth. It is caused by the presence of polyphenolic compounds, which are naturally occurring antioxidants in olives.

Depending on the intensity of these attributes EΧVOO is then classified as Robust, Medium, Delicate, Mild or Well Balanced (when all the attributes are harmonious between them without one overpowering the other).

The organoleptic characteristics of EΧVOO are a vital aspect of its overall quality. This along with the detailed chemical analysis can provide us with deeper understanding of the complexity of this exceptional oil. Whether used as a finishing oil for dishes or as an ingredient in cooking, EXVOO is a delight the senses and adds depth and richness to any culinary creation.