How to Taste Olive Oil

When tasting olive oil, much of the oil’s characteristics are perceived through the sense of smell:

1. Pour a small amount of oil into a small glass preferably colored so you don’t judge the oil by its color (color is NOT an indicator of either the oil’s flavor or quality).

2. Hold the glass in one hand and use your other hand to cover the glass while swirling the oil to release its aroma.

3. Uncover the glass and inhale deeply from the top of the glass. At this point you should be able to evaluate whether the aroma is mild or strong.

4. Slurp the oil by sipping a small amount of oil into your mouth while “sipping” some air as well. (When done correctly, you will make noise). Slurping combines the oil with air that helps to spread it throughout your mouth – giving you the chance to savor every nuance of flavor with just a small sip of oil.

5. Finish by swallowing the oil and noticing if it leaves a stinging sensation in your throat.

Each of the above actions focuses on a specific positive attribute in the oil. First evaluate the olive fruit aroma (fruitiness) by inhaling from the glass. Second when the oil is in your mouths you further evaluate the aroma retro-nasally as well as determine the amount of bitterness on your tongue. Finally you determine the intensity of the oil’s pungency in your throat as you swallow it.

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