What to look for when tasting olive oil:
The Village Press Intensity Scale: 1- mild and smooth, 2 – mild, 3- medium Intensity, 4- Medium with a slight peppery kick, 5 Intense oil full of herbaceous, fruity flavours with a peppery finish.
- Bitter – a preferred characteristic of olive oils, usually obtained from green olives or olives turning colour. A good trait in moderation but bad if overpowering.
- Fresh – good aroma, fruity, not oxidized.
- Fruity – an oil is fruity when its flavour and aroma are similar to that of a mature olive. Many oils initially seem fruity. This characteristic may disappear in a few months in some oils, a truly fruity oil maintains this characteristic aroma through time.
- Green leaf – a sensation obtained when a small quantity of fresh olive leaves are added to the pressing. This is a trick which is done to approximate the genuine green taste of green olives.
- Harmonious – all the qualities of the oil blend and work well with each other.
- Musky, nutty, woody – trace characteristics which are very pleasing when not overpowering.
- Soave – mature olives can produce this characteristic. Sweet, palatable aftertaste.
- Dirty – oils which have absorbed the unpleasant odours and flavours of the vegetable water after pressing which they have remained in contact with for too long.
- Dreggish – odour of warm lubricating oil and is caused by the poor or lacking execution of the decanting process.
- Flat – oils that have lost their characteristic aroma and have no taste.
- Fusty – due to olives fermenting in piles while in storage waiting for pressing.
- Pungent – A rough, burning or biting sensation in the throat – peppery.
- Metallic – oils processed or stored with extended contact to metal surfaces.
- Poor conservation – the oil absorbs the odours and flavours of everything surrounding it even if not in direct contact. A very common defect.
- Impersonal – a serious defect for virgin oil, because it means it has neither character nor personality. It is a trait common in all manipulated oils.
- Sweet – The opposite to bitter, stringent or pungent. Found in mellow oils.
- Rancid – Old oils which have oxidised due to exposure to light or air.