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The elements of an excellent Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The organoleptic properties

Italian Oil Oil Olio Olio EVO

written by Carmine J. Pezzullo


In the two previous blogs, we have analyzed two objective data that indicate two characteristics that a good extra virgin olive oil must necessarily have, that is, a price appropriate to the type of product and an acidity rate as low as possible.

In this blog, we will instead find out what are the organoleptic qualities that we must look for in an extra virgin olive oil.

Many leading exponents of the sector agree that it was the average consumer who incentivized the spread of poor quality oils, this, for 2 fundamental reasons.

  • The first is, as widely covered in the previous blog, the desire to pay an objectively too low price to have a good quality product.
  • The second, probably even more serious, as it denotes a bad knowledge of the product and poor food education, is the search for oils with a "fake" taste, as far as there is from a good quality extra virgin olive oil and which, therefore, make serious producers turn up their noses.

The shelves of supermarkets in fact overflow with phantom extra virgin olive oils with the wording on the label that identifies them as "delicate" or "gentle"; but what do these words actually mean?

From a technical point of view, these adjectives have no meaning, but, in practice, they serve to pass off the typical defects of poor quality oils, for merits.

Quality Evo oil (an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil) must be characterized by three main organoleptic attributes: the Fruity, the Bitter, and the Spicy.


Fruttato (Fruity)

First of all, therefore, a quality extra virgin olive oil must absolutely refer to the fruit from which it comes: the olive.

It must not be odorless, colorless, and tasteless; as almost always happens for these phantom "delicate" oils. For too long, in fact, the message that has promoted an EVO oil without a core, therefore devoid of all those nutritional, health, and sensorial characteristics that make it the best of all oils, has passed.

The current legislation on the matter (EC Regulation n.640 / 2008) reports that if olive oil does not "taste fruity" it cannot be marketed. All extra virgin olive oils should, therefore, have an albeit minimal fruity olive sensation that identifies an oil with a healthy, fresh and odor-worked olive oil at the right degree of ripeness.

Fruity is a fundamental characteristic that only the oils extracted from olives (since they are obtained only and only from the fruit, the olive, through the use of exclusively mechanical processes) and not the oils obtained from the seeds, which to be extracted and made edible undergo industrial refining processes. The fruity is therefore that set of olfactory sensations perceived directly and / or nasal back, dependent on the variety of olives and in any case characteristics of the oil obtained from fresh and healthy, green or ripe fruits.

Depending on the intensity, the fruitiness can be "green" or "ripe".

  • It is "green" when the olfactory sensations are reminiscent of green fruits, characteristic of the oil obtained from green olives, and, therefore, harvested just before or during veraison (fruit ripening).
  • It is "ripe" when, on the other hand, the olfactory sensations are reminiscent of those of ripe fruits, characteristic of the oil obtained from more mature olives.


Amaro (Bitter/Sour)

The quality of extra virgin olive oil must be bitter. Bitter, like spicy, derives from the presence of precious substances - antioxidants - which protect the oil from oxidation as well as the cells of the human body, inducing a series of favorable effects on health. Bitter is the characteristic elementary flavor of the oil obtained from green or freshly ripe (ripe) olives, rich in phenolic compounds. Bitter, like spicy, is a quality of olive oil and not a defect. It is evident that oils from different types of olives can have a different bitterness intensity, but, in essence, a good quality oil cannot be lacking in a bitter component, albeit minimal.


Il Piccante (Spicy)

As with bitters, spicy must necessarily be a characteristic of our Evo oil, if we are looking for a high-quality product.

The spicy is that pungent tactile sensation characteristic of the oils produced at the beginning of the harvest, mainly from green olives or just ripe and however rich in phenolic compounds, which can be perceived particularly in the throat. The healthier the olives, the richer they are in polyphenols: polyphenols are responsible for the spicy sensation in the throat. Consequently, the spicy is directly proportional to the content of polyphenols (natural antioxidants contained in the oil).

The extra virgin olive oil that we have carefully selected for our customers is an expression of the highest possible quality target. This exceptional oil, produced in the centuries-old farm of the Duke, can boast of being produced in a closed and extremely controlled supply chain.

The olive trees used to come exclusively from the company's olive grove which extends for about 200 hectares with over 40,000 centuries-old olive trees, of autochthonous quality, and with a sculptural appearance. Immediately after being harvested at a perfect stage of maturation, the olives are transported to the company mill where cold pressing takes place at a temperature of around 27 ° C. This type of processing involves a lower yield but fully safeguards the organoleptic and nutritional properties of the extra virgin olive oil.

This valuable attention to detail and the careful mix of native qualities: Olearola 40%, Leccino 30%, Frantoio 20%, Coratina 10%, gives life to an oil with a golden green color, green fruity aroma, and a sweet and intense taste, with the bitter and spicy component that is present but naturally balanced. Our oil can also boast a very low acidity rate which, at the oil mill, does not exceed 0, 12g per 100g. These unique qualities are protected from light through the rigorous use of dark bottles and nitrogen before corking, thus avoiding alterations due to oxidation.

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