The main criterion of quality that defines an oil is its organoleptic assessment or tasting.


In order to classify virgin oils, these must be passed by an official panel, where a group of fully trained and qualified testers perform “blind” tasting on which classification is based.


Both its virtues and its defects are marked:




Unpleasant sensation.


Aromas and/or flavours: vinegary, winey, sour, musty-humidity, muddy sediment, vegetable water, fusty and rancid.






Pleasant sensation.


Pleasant aromas and flavours:


Fresh natural products, fresh olives, fruit, ripe or green, green grass




The official tasting glass is blue, because the actual colour of the oil is not taken into account during tasting since this could lead a taster astray by tending to instinctively relate the tone or colour of the oil to determined aromas and flavours.


Yellow-green tones normally correspond to fruity olive oils with a point of bitterness and “bite”.


Golden yellow tones are normally associated with sweet olive oils from late-harvested ripe olives.




Extra Virgin Olive Oil:


- With virrues


- Without defects




Virgin Olive Oil


- With virtues


- With a small defect




Lampante oil


- With or without virtues.


- With more the one small defect




How to taste an oil




The glass is taken in the palm of the hand, keeping it covered with a piece of glass, until the oil is at the same temperature as the hand.


The glass cover is removed and the oil is smelled by slow, gentle, deep inspirations until the positive or negative attributes possessed by the oil are detected, together with their intensities.


The flavour test is now performed. This is accomplished by taking a small sip of the oil. It is important to distribute the oil around the entire mouth in order to perceive the four basic flavours of sweet, salty, acid and bitter, together with the product’s own flavours.


The oil must extend in sufficient quantity and very slowly over the back of the tongue towards the hard palate and throat, with attention concentrating on bitter and “bite” stimuli.


Short, successive aspirations, allowing air to enter through the mouth, assist in extending the oil around the mouth and to perceive the volatile aromatic components retronasally.


The touch sensation must also be taken into account, together with fluidity, pastiness and stinging or burning sensation and noting its intensity when detected.


A minimum time of fifteen minutes should be left between one evaluation and another, eliminating the remains of the previous one. Chewing a piece of apple is recommended for this. The mouth should then be rinsed with water at ambient temperature.