The importance of the sensory analysis
The tasting of virgin olive oil is mandatory before being labeled. This is the determining factor on whether or not it is called extra virgin. This test is completely objetive.
The sensory taste test is regulated by the rules of the IOC (International Olive Oil Council) through an extensive manual with specific technical requirements in the room where it takes place, and also the material used in the evaluation of the oil.
The taste testers that make up the panel are experts and have been prepared to detect if any virgin olive oil deserves the category of extra or not. If the oil is not deemed worthy, it is either categorized as Virgin or Lampant. To be a taste tester, one must have a very developed palette and also be able to recall, with ease, the various positive attributes as well as potential defects. Just how police dogs are trained to smell for drugs and bombs, taste panel members are trained to detect a very specific set of defects. This is a completely OBJECTIVE test, and the only way to be able to test for a possible defect.
During an official taste test, the flavor and odor of the oil is examined. This is done to classify the oil as an extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil or lampant olive oil. There are three principal positive attributes for an extra virgin olive oil: fruity, bitter and spicy. The negative attributes, or defects, include (fusty, musty, winey, rancid, etc.)
The following describes the various categories of olive oil. Oleoestepa exclusivley sells the highest tier of the three grades: extra virgin olive oil.
Virgin Olive Oils
Obtained from the fruit of the olive extracted using only mechanical or physical techniques under conditions that will not alter the oil. These oils are strictly classified under the following two categoroies:
Extra virgin olive oil
Fatty Free Acidity less than .8%. Other chemical requirements under the established limits., These are oils with a positive fruitiness and no defect.
Virgin olive oil
Fatty Free Acidity less than 2%.) These are oils with positive fruitiness but also a minor defect in either taste or smell.
Lampant Olive Oil
These are oils that because of their defective properties, should not be consumed as is. These oils are sent to the refinery to be turned into a tasteless, orderless, colorless fat.
Made up of a mixture of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils. There are various options such as intense or light flavors, depending on the amount of virgin olive oil added.