For an Olive Oil to be included in a category must undergo physicochemical and organoleptic analysis.
The physicochemical parameters that are examined and play a very important role in the quality of olive oil are free acidity, the number of peroxides, spectrophotometric absorption in ultraviolet (K232, K270, DK), impurities (insoluble in petroleum ether), traces of metal, the alkyl esters.
Organoleptic Analysis is the detection and description of the qualitative and quantitative olfactory-taste characteristics of virgin olive oil, using the human senses, and its classification according to its organoleptic characteristics. The method uses a group of selected and trained testers and is applied only to the classification of virgin olive oils according to the perceived intensity of the defect which is perceived with the greatest intensity and the presence or not of fruity.
The organoleptic analysis examines whether the olive oil has defects and its positive characteristics are also analyzed. Some of the defects are related to bad practices of harvesting and storage before milling (fusty, winey, musty), some to bad practices in the oil mill (burnt, metallic), and some due to poor storage practices (rancid, muddy sediment).
There are three positive attributes of olive oil. Fruity, Bitter and Pungent/Spicy.
Fruity: is the set of olfactory senses - characteristics of olive oils, which depends mainly on the variety of the olive and comes from healthy and fresh olives, ripe or unripe. It is perceived by smell and / or by the retronasal area.
It can be unripe fruity or ripe fruity. This attribute is the most important in the organoleptic analysis because if it is not perceived, the tested olive oil will not be classified as extra virgin or virgin.
More simply, the fruity of olive oil is its aroma, the aroma of the fruit of the olive. An experienced taster, in addition to determining its intensity, will also recognize in it the characteristic aromas of each variety. For example, freshly cut grass, tomato or tomato leaf, artichoke, citrus fruits, apple, banana, almond, various aromas of herbs or spices, etc.
Bitter: the characteristic taste of olive oil obtained from green olives or from olives that begin to change their color and which is perceived by the taste buds of the back of the tongue. It can be enjoyable or not, depending on the intensity. However, in any case, is it not considered a defect and is a result of the action of phenolic compounds present in olive oil.
Pungent/Spicy: intense kinesthetic sensation, characteristic of oils produced at the beginning of the harvesting season, mainly from green olives, which can be perceived throughout the oral cavity, especially high in the throat as a burn. It spreads throughout the oral cavity and is eliminated a few seconds after the tasting. Sometimes it can cause coughing or tears in the eyes. We should not confuse this feeling with that of the rancid olive oil where the burning is felt lower in the neck (chest), it is very annoying and is maintained for a much longer time (bad aftertaste). The spicy also depends on the presence of phenolic compounds. Its intensity decreases during the ripening of both the fruit and the olive oil.