Even pouring olive oil into a glass comes with a special procedure. The glass must be colored so that the appearance of the olive oil will not affect the judgment of its taste. The glass is usually dark blue, but any (opaque) color is acceptable. The important thing is just to keep from telling the color of the oil as it doesn’t function as any kind of an indicator of its quality (which certainly came as news to me!). Pour one or two tea spoons of olive oil into the glass, then hold the glass at the bottom by one hand and cover it with the other hand. In this way, the oil is heated to body temperature in order to better release its aromas. Next, whirl the glass a few times so that the effect will intensify, and we are ready for step two.
The glass is brought close to the nose in order to better feel the aroma. The notes you feel have a significant effect on the overall effect. After taking two or three strong whiffs, stop for a moment and try to determine the hidden elements of the aroma. Specify the ones that you recognize, analyze those that you don’t, and focus all your senses on the aroma, because it reveals a lot about the quality. The aroma can be fruity or floral, cinnamon, etc. You will marvel the at brave new world you discover.
The third step is: tasting! Swallow a bit of oil and spread the rest across your palate with circular movements of the tongue in order to better analyze your impressions. Afterwards clench your teeth and breath in deeply through them. The polyphenols will make you feel a harmless tingling in the throat. Once again start an intense analysis, this time of the taste and the aftertaste, paying attention to the amount of bitterness, but also of saltiness, sweetness or sourness. Don’t let a single taste slip by you! Several factors affect the taste and aroma of olive oil, all of which need to be taken into consideration, including the type of olives used, the climate and type of soil, the season of harvesting and the amount of time that passes between the harvesting and the processing.
For the enthusiasts
If you wish to repeat the procedure like a real professional and compare several types of olive oil, have a slice of apple in order to clean your palate before doing another tasting. If you wish to take it a step further, try pairing the olive oil with food (my favorite combination is with truffles). Olive oil tasting is best done in groups, and try to do it neither hungry nor full (preferably in the morning, about an hour after a light meal). Applying fragrances to yourself or the space around you, and consuming food or drinks that may affect your taste buds, is not recommended 30 minutes before the tasting.