The first tip is to trust your palate. When tasting extra virgin olive oil, it must be appreciated – and therefore chosen – for the tactile sensations, aromas and flavours that can be enjoyed as a harmonious whole. This can only be found in oil produced within the last year, because the main virtue of any extra virgin olive oil is its youth. While wine improves with age, oil does not mature over time: it simply gets older. Air, light and heat have a negative impact on oil and gradually make it lose all of its sensory qualities and its nutritional benefits.
High quality extra virgin olive oil is fresh and fragrant on the nose, with distinct traces of the olives used in the different nuances of the fruity notes. Depending on its distinctive characteristics, in the mouth it must be suitably fluid, viscous or compact, with a degree of acidity. There must be a good balance between the bitter and spicy elements in the aftertaste. All of these properties are dependent on meticulous cultivation and the great care taken over the entire production process, from the olives to the oil in the bottles and on to their storage.
Rancid, mouldy, heated or unripe smells are clear defects, as are dominant bitter or spicy flavours.