You, the user, are the real judge of quality olive oil. An oil is good if it makes yourfood taste beautiful. This means bringing good ingredients to perfection, and lifting average ingredients off the floor.
To choose a good quality olive oil, it is best to be ‘led by the nose’. First, smell the oil, preferably in the bottle.
- If you can’t smell anything – or hardly anything – the oil is no good. It may not be positively bad, but it is certainly not good.
- If the oil smells ‘off’ – sour, or rancid, or musty – we suggest you move on.
- But if the oil smells clean and fresh, then you have a quality product.
Remember that quality olive oil is a fruit juice – it is squeezed fresh from the fruit of the olive tree.
The quality that you smell in a bottle of olive oil is backed by a long pedigree. Professor David Connor concludes, in a top research article, that “Cultivars are major determinants of quality, although that too is under environmental control”. This means that to get quality olive oil, you need the right trees, the right soil, the right plant food, the right climate, the right watering, the right picking at the right time, the right handling, the right cold pressing, the right filtering, the right storage, the right bottling – and the right distribution to ensure that you get your oil fresh.Your Olive Oil uses the motto “Let Nature Do Its Best”, because the real flavour and quality of olive oil comes from the tree.
There are other criteria besides aroma, and how it works with food, that can be used in choosing a quality olive oil. The International Olive Oil Council quality standards list several faults (such as rancidity), as well as looking for a good balance of fruitiness, bitterness and pungency. You would need expertise to make these tests.
For practical purposes, the best and simplest guide to quality in Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a clean, fresh aroma.