Olive Oil Tasting

Common Descriptors

Good

  • Apple/Green Apple: indica­tive of cer­tain olive vari­etals
  • Almond: nutty (fresh not oxi­dized)
  • Arti­choke: green fla­vor
  • Astrin­gent: puck­er­ing sen­sa­tion in mouth cre­ated by tan­nins; often asso­ci­ated with bit­ter, robust oils
  • Banana: ripe and unripe banana fruit
  • Bit­ter: con­sid­ered a pos­i­tive attribute because it is indica­tive of fresh olive fruit
  • But­tery: creamy, smooth sen­sa­tion on palate
  • Euca­lyp­tus: aroma of spe­cific olive vari­etals
  • Flo­ral: perfume/aroma of flow­ers
  • For­est: fresh aroma rem­i­nis­cent of for­est floor, NOT dirty
  • Fresh: good aroma, fruity, not oxi­dixed
  • Fruity: refers to the aroma of fresh olive fruit, which is per­ceived through the nos­trils and retro-nasally when the oil is in one’s mouth.
  • Grass: the aroma of fresh-cut (mowed) grass
  • Green /Greenly: aroma/flavor of unripe olives
  • Green Tea: char­ac­ter­is­tic of some unripe olive vari­eties
  • Har­mo­nious: bal­ance among the oil’s char­ac­ter­is­tics with none over­pow­er­ing the oth­ers
  • Hay/Straw: dried grass fla­vor
  • Herba­ceous: unripe olive fruit rem­i­nis­cent of fresh green herbs
  • Melon: indica­tive of cer­tain olive vari­etals
  • Mint: indica­tive of cer­tain olive vari­etals
  • Pear: indica­tive of cer­tain olive vari­etals
  • Peach: indica­tive of cer­tain olive vari­etals
  • Pep­pery: sting­ing sen­sa­tion in the throat which can force a cough (see pun­gent)
  • Pun­gent: sting­ing sen­sa­tion in the throat which can force a cough (see pep­pery)
  • Ripely: aroma/flavor of ripe olive fruit
  • Round/Rotund: a bal­anced, mouth-fill­ing sen­sa­tion of har­mo­nious fla­vors
  • Spice: aroma/flavor of sea­son­ings such as cin­na­mon, all­spice (but not herbs or pep­per)
  • Sweet: char­ac­ter­is­tic of mild oils
  • Tomato/Tomato Leaf: indica­tive of cer­tain olive vari­etals
  • Trop­i­cal: indica­tive of ripe olive fruit with nuances of melon, mango, and coconut
  • Walnut/Walnut Shell: nutty (fresh not oxi­dized)
  • Wheat­grass: strong fla­vor of some green olive fruit
  • Woody: indica­tive of olive vari­etals with large pits
  • Not Good

  • Ace­tone: aroma of nail pol­ish remover, asso­ci­ated with winey defect
  • Blue Cheese: aroma asso­ci­ated with muddy sed­i­ment defect
  • Brine: salty taste indi­cat­ing that oil was made from brined olives
  • Bacon: smoky essence that may indi­cate oxi­da­tion
  • Burnt/Heated: caused by pro­cess­ing at too high a tem­per­a­ture
  • Cucum­ber: off fla­vor from pro­longed stor­age, par­tic­u­larly in tin
  • Dirty: oils which have absorbed unpleas­ant odors and fla­vors of dirty waste water dur­ing milling
  • Dreg­gish: odor of warm lubri­cat­ing oil caused by the poor exe­cu­tion of the decant­ing process
  • Esparto: refers to straw-like mate­r­ial in mats occa­sion­ally used in older mills that may cre­ate a hemp-like fla­vor in oil
  • Fis­colo: refers to coconut fibers in mats occa­sion­ally used in older mills that may cre­ate a hemp-like fla­vor in oil
  • Flat/Bland: oils which have no pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive aroma or fla­vor char­ac­ter­is­tic of olive oil; may indi­cate pres­ence of refined olive oil
  • Frozen/Wet Wood: sweet, dry, and untyp­i­cal aroma/flavor derived from olives which have been exposed to freez­ing tem­per­a­tures
  • Fusty: anaer­o­bic fer­men­ta­tion that occurs when olives are stored in piles too long before milling
  • Greasy: fla­vor of diesel or gaso­line caused by equip­ment prob­lems
  • Grubby: fla­vor imparted to oil by olive fly dam­age to olives
  • Hay-wood: fla­vor of dried olives
  • Muddy Sed­i­ment: barn­yard-like aroma caused by olives’ pro­longed con­tact with dirt before or after milling
  • Musty: moldy, humid fla­vor cre­ated by wet olives that have been stored too long before press­ing
  • Metal­lic: oils that have had pro­longed con­tact with reac­tive metal sur­faces either dur­ing pro­cess­ing or stor­age
  • Ran­cid: the fla­vor of oxi­da­tion that occurs as the oil ages, often described as stale nuts”
  • Rough: pasty, thick, greasy mouth feel
  • Sour Milk: aroma asso­ci­ated with muddy sed­i­ment defect
  • Stale Nuts: fla­vor of oxi­dized oils, ran­cid­ity
  • Unbal­anced: oils with over­whelm­ing fla­vors of bit­ter­ness and pun­gency
  • Veg­etable Water: oils that have been stored in con­tact with the water con­tent of the olive after pro­cess­ing
  • Winey: sour/vinegary fla­vor caused by aer­o­bic fer­men­ta­tion of olives dur­ing pro­cess­ing (see vine­gary)
  • Vine­gary: sour/vinegary fla­vor caused by aer­o­bic fer­men­ta­tion of olives dur­ing pro­cess­ing. (see winey)
  • Yeasty: aroma of bread dough; asso­ci­ated with winey defect