Olive Oil Aromas

List of aromas of olive oil and off flavours follows:

Desirable Flavours:

  • Apple
  • Bitter-Good in moderation, but not good if overpowering (when unripe olives with little flesh as well as olives that have suffered water stress, are used). A typical characteristic of olive oils (from green olives turning colour).
  • Almond-nutty
  • Artichoke
  • Astringent- A puckering sensation in the mouth (tannins)
  • Banana – just ripe
  • Fresh-good aroma, fruity, not oxidiced
  • Fruity- flavour and aroma are similar to that of a mature olive. Many oils initially seem fruity, but this characteristic may disappear in a few months. A truly fruity oil maintains this characteristic aroma through time.
  • Hay-wood- dried olive taste
  • Grass- often in green olives, or those crushed with leaves and twigs
  • Green- a young fresh, fruity oil, often mixed with bitter. Spicy-bitter, cough sensation at the back of the throat
  • Green leave- obtained when a small quantity of fresh olive leaves are added in the press. (a trick to enhance the genuine green taste of green olives)
  • Musky, nutty, woody- very pleasing when not overpowering
  • Peppery – A peppery bite in the back of the throat, which can force a cough
  • Pungent- a rough burning or biting sensation in the throat- peppery

Undesirable flavours:

  • Bitter- not good when overpowering (when unripe olives with little flesh as well as olives that have suffered water stress, are used
  • Burned-prolonged heating during process
  • Dirty- oils that have absorbed unpleasant odours and flavours of vegetable water, after pressing (contact for too long).
  • Dreggish- odour of warm lubricating oil ( caused by poor or lacking execution of the decanting process)
  • Banana –over ripe
  • Flat- lost characteristic aroma and no taste
  • Fusty- due to olives fermenting in piles, while in storage, waiting for pressing
  • Buttery
  • Greasy- a diesel or bearing greasy flavour
  • Grubby- flavour imparted by olive fly grubs
  • Heated-burned taste from prolonged heating
  • Muddy sediment
  • Musty- mouldy flavour from being stored too long before pressing
  • Metallic-oils, processed or stored with extended contact to metal surfaces
  • Moldy- from unhealthy or fermented olives, due to excessive storage in warehouses
  • Rancid- old oils, which have started oxidizing due to exposure to light or air
  • Rough- pasty, thick greasy mouth feel
  • Winey- high acidic taste