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How to taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil like a pro

How to taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil like a pro

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

In 1960, the European Parliament passed a law stipulating that Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) may only be extracted mechanically without the use of chemicals or heat. This process produces olive oil that retains its flavour, aromas and natural, healthful antioxidant polyphenols.

In 1991, the EU made a law based on standards established by the IOC (International Olive Oil Council), the EU and other governing bodies that olive oil must pass a chemical analysis. It must then pass a panel taste analysis (sensory/organoleptic) showing no defects (bad taste or odour).

International competitions and awards use tastings to rank extra virgin olive oils from average to exceptional. Receiving an award at a leading competition demonstrates the ability of the producer to produce superior, high-quality oil.

The Governor EVOO has consistently won, year after year a long list of awards from prestigious competitions. Our Awards >


What should extra virgin olive oil taste like?

An olive oil is assessed on its balance of these three desirable characteristics - fruity, bitter and pungency (peppery).

A high-quality cold pressed olive oil should taste fresh and fruity. It can have a diverse range of aromas and flavour notes, from floral to fruity, grassy to herbal and peppery.

It shouldn't taste fusty, musty or metallic. These indicate rancid oils due to incorrect production, extraction and storage conditions causing oxidation. It should taste smooth and rich and should not taste ‘fatty’.


How to taste olive oil in 3 easy steps!

Now you have your bottle of the Governor, let’s get to know it better.

We recommend trying this when you first open your bottle, when it is at its freshest. Tasting are best done on an empty stomach, avoid having strong drinks like coffee, wine or spicy food beforehand. You should wash your hands in non fragranced soap/ hand wash.

Tasting olive oil is much the same as tasting wine.

  1. We smell. Pour roughly a tbsp of olive oil into a small glass. Professional sommeliers/judges use a small dark glass (usually dark blue) at olive oil competitions so the colour of the oil does not influence them. An olive oils colour is not an indicator of its quality or its taste. Cover the top of the glass with one hand and place the other under the base. This helps to warm the oil and to trap in the aromas, gently begin to swirl the glass around for 30 seconds. Lift your top hand and give the oil a good sniff, inhaling through your nose. 
    Now think about what you can smell. High quality olive oils should smell fresh and fruity. The Governor is all about the fresh young olive smell, fresh cut grass and some herbal notes and a long peppery finish (when tasted).

  2. We now taste. Swirl the glass again, take a small sip but enough to coat all the mouth not just the tongue, as you do touch your tongue to the back of the top teeth and inhale through the front and sides of your mouth. Then close your mouth completely and breathe out through your nose. This aeration technique unlocks the aromas.

  3. Then swallow the oil. Assess the taste. It should feel velvety and rich. How bitter and pungent (pepppery) is it? You may feel a strong peppery kick on the back of your throat, which may even cause you to cough. This sensation is actually a very important positive attribute in extra virgin olive oil. It is caused by a naturally occurring polyphenol called Oleocanthal.

    Oleocanthal has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties thats act in the same way as ibuprofen to stifle components of a pain pathway called the prostaglandin system.

Research reveals that it may have therapeutic effects against chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, strokes and other conditions. See for yourself >

However, it can only be found in high-quality extra virgin olive oil, not in refined olive oils or anywhere else in nature.This is typically found in olive oil that is produced from olives that are harvested early in the season when the olive is at the height of its polyphenol nutritional peak.

In general, the more bitter and pungent an oil the healthier it is. High phenolic olive oils contain the highest levels of this unique polyphenol.

Extra virgin olive oil falls into three categories: mild, medium and robust. More Health Benefits >  


The Governor EVOO is classified as a robust olive oil. Robust olive oils have a bold flavour, fruity notes, a balanced bitterness, and a very prominent peppery finish. Fortunately, pungency and bitterness blend well with food, and add a finer taste dimension to dishes. Its great for adding to sauces, marinades, soups, stews and meat dishes as well as for drizzling over salads and cooked vegetables.