These attributes are indicators of the high quality of an oil and its high stability, since it provides multiple benefits for the health of the consumer and, in addition, protects the oil from oxidation.
Positive qualities of olive oilIn a tasting panel, the assessment of these three positive attributes that an extra virgin olive oil must have comes into play.
FruityIt is the first positive attribute that we find, since it is perceived through smell, when smelling the oil directly. The fruitiness is the set of olfactory sensations that a certain oil provides us.
This attribute must appear in any extra virgin olive oil, regardless of its intensity. It is so important that, even if an olive oil has no defects, it will be considered lampante if no fruitiness is found.
It is essential that an extra virgin olive oil be fruity, since this attribute comes from healthy and fresh, green and/or ripe fruits. If an extra virgin olive oil is an early harvest, with green fruits, its fruitiness will be reminiscent of green, healthy and fresh fruits, such as green grass or tomato. If, on the other hand, the extra virgin olive oil is harvested later, its fruitiness will be reminiscent of more mature fruits, such as bananas or almonds, for example.
The fruitiness can also be perceived when, once the oil is swallowed, we continue to perceive its aromas.
BitternessThe bitterness of an olive oil is characteristic of early oils, of those that have been obtained from green or veraison olives. As we have mentioned before, polyphenols are responsible for this flavor. The presence of these natural antioxidants will make this attribute more intense in the oils.
The greener an oil is, the more polyphenols it will have and, therefore, the more bitter it will be.
When an oil has that bitter touch, it is indicative that the oil has a longer shelf life, or what is the same, it can take longer to consume it. Phenolic compounds fight directly against free radicals that can make the oil rancid; in addition to fighting against oxygen, light, heat and the passage of time.
PungentPungent is another positive attribute that we find when trying an olive oil. This refers to the tactile sensation of itching that is perceived, especially, in the throat. This attribute is characteristic of the oils made from the youngest and still green olives.
The responsible for the pungent in the oil is a polyphenol called Oleuropein. Therefore, the more it itches our throat that oil will have greater resistance to oxidation.
When professional oil tasters comment that the oil clings to the throat, they are referring to this positive attribute: pungent.
What does the pungent of an oil depend on?Although it depends on several factors, the main one is the concentration of polyphenols in the fruit, that is, in the olive. However, this concentration varies depending on the variety of the olive, its state of maturity, the type of crop, the weather, the production process, etc.
It must be said that these compounds are lost during the refining process. For this reason, superior quality extra virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols, has greater stability and finds these three attributes at high points: fruitiness, bitterness and pungent.