Oil tasting, a wonderful experience
Smell and taste are the main senses in oil tasting. A practice through which anyone can discover the attributes of an olive juice.In this post we tell you how you can become an expert taster to detect whether an evoo covers your tastes and preferences or, conversely, much more deeply into the organoleptic qualities of evoo.
Discovering an extra virgin olive oil through its flavors is a great experience. A single instant in which we are transported, for a moment, to the countryside, to the olive groves from which healthy fruits have sprouted and with which its juice has been obtained.
The tasting of an oil is a magical journey into an unknown world, full of surprises. Its smells, its flavours… take us back to past times, moments lived, experiences enjoyed.
Tomato, artichoke, green leaf, freshly cut grass, banana, fruit compote, apple… There is no doubt that “to discover an oil we have to stick our noses in it! Literal! At least, this is what the chef of El Olivar and expert oil taster, Firo Vázquez, thinks, who assures us that a bottle of oil will allow us to discover a series of attributes that will reveal its personality.
However, the most technical definition of oil tasting refers to the evaluation of its sensory characteristics, identifying its descriptors and determining the intensity with which they are perceived.
Tasting an oil is an evaluation of its sensory characteristics, identifying its descriptors and determining the intensity with which they are perceived
Well, two senses are involved in the evaluation of an oil: the nose and the mouth (sight does not intervene because the color is not analyzed in an oil tasting), and it aims to recognize the goodness or positive attributes of the oils and, in the case of extra virgin olive oils (evoos), to rule out the presence of defects. It is a simple and light practice if what we want is to do it in a domestic way, and more technical, if the purpose is to do a more professional tasting.
Types of tasting
Surely you have heard that this practice is only carried out by professionals who are experts in sensory analysis. Nothing could be further from the truth, because anyone can do it if they bring together one or more oils and, of course, the senses of taste and smell. It’s that simple! Because, among the different types of tasting that exist, the commercial one is carried out by people who lack specific training and the objective is, basically, to know if an oil covers our tastes and preferences, without more.
Alluding to the professional level, in the analytical tasting a panel of trained expert tasters (around 12) intervenes with the aim of classifying the anonymous sample presented according to the current regulations of the European Union and the International Olive Council (IOC).
Stages of the tasting
In a warm environment, with a temperature that varies between 20 and 25 ºC, we must introduce a small amount of oil in a tasting glass (15 ml approximately) and cover it with a watch glass and then rub its base for 2 minutes so that the oil reaches the temperature of 28 ºC. From this moment on, we begin to discover the olive juice, first, smelling it to identify and quantify the aromas and their intensity; and then, tasting it, to detect the positive bitter and spicy attributes.
In a professional tasting, each taster will score the intensity of the descriptors on 10 cm scales for each of the positive and negative attributes they perceive and write it down on a profile sheet.
It is also recommended to leave a space of at least 15 minutes between each tasting, time used to rinse the mouth with water and chew the apple to neutralize the flavors.
Magnun Sess tasting
Now that you have discovered how to taste an evoo, gather our three references in your pantry, uncover each of them and pour a small amount into some tasting glasses. If you don’t have them, don’t worry, three catavins will be enough.
Following the guidelines we have given you, you will discover three very different profiles. Three evoos with different nuances, despite the fact that all three are made with the same variety of olive: Picual.
Fruity mostly green, with attributes of some ripe fruit. It presents notes of green grass and green leaf balanced between them. On the palate, bitter and spicy are in perfect balance, confirming the attributes found both on the nose and retronasally.
Predominantly green leaf and intense fruit, highlighting the tomato and artichoke with green and vegetable attributes that lead to pepper and green banana.
Significant presence of tomato and artichoke, with a slight touch of almond and medium intensity bitter and spicy aromas. In the mouth there are notes of pepper and green banana at the end.
No one is born knowing and tasting it is a practice that requires a lot of practice. You must train your senses and this is achieved by being persistent and constant. Only when you have discovered each one of them you will be able to use them properly in the kitchen, you will be able to harmonize them with the right raw materials and extol the nuances of each ingredient. Otherwise, you are likely to ruin a dish.