The California Olive Oil Council's Tasting Panel uses specially-made blue glasses that are tapered to concentrate the oil’s aroma (a wine glass is a good substitute when tasting at home). Cover the glass and allow it to gently warm in your hand; optimal tasting temperature 82°. It is important to evaluate the oil in an odor-free environment using the "4 S's" method to tasting oil:
Swirl - swirl the oil in the glass which releases the oil’s aroma. Keep the oil covered until ready to sniff.
Sniff - uncover the oil and quickly inhale from the rim of the glass. Take note of the intensity and the description of the aroma.
Slurp - take a small sip of the oil while also “sipping” some air. This slurping action emulsifies the oil and helps to spread it throughout your mouth. Take note of the retro-nasal aroma as well as the intensity of bitterness.
Swallow - an oil’s pungency is judged by a sensation in your throat so you must swallow at least a small amount to thoroughly evaluate it. If the oil makes your throat scratchy or makes you want to cough, it is a pungent oil.
If tasting a series of oils, be prepared to clean your palate between tastes with a bite of green apple (preferably Granny Smith) followed by either still or sparkling water.
Subtle pungency, notes of cinnamon and herbs with a mild peppery finish.
Toss your favorite cold pasta or potato salad in this herbaceous olive oil or drizzle on warm, comforting soups like butternut squash bisque and tomato basil. Also a unique and surprisingly delicious addition to any scoop of ice cream.
Ripe, buttery, and nutty with a flavorful peppery finish.
Your kitchen staple, this palate pleasing oil may be used as a healthier alternative to butter in baked goods (be sure to follow a substitution ratio!), and is especially great for sautéing and roasting any vegetable or protein of your choice.