Taste profiles of olive oil, and how to pick your favourite.

neil bougourd | 14 April, 2021

What are the taste profiles and how to pick one that works for you? 

The taste profile is based on the attributes of the oil. Is it smooth or robust? Does it have a defined peppery finish? Does it have an asparagus or fruity  or grassy aroma?

We taste the oil in 4 parts:

  1. Nose: The aroma tells you something as we taste with our sense of smell and our tongue.
  2. Front palate: The flavour in the front of the mouth which tends to taste sweet and buttery.
  3. Mid-Palate: The flavour mid-palate which tends to taste green or fruity.
  4. Back Palate: The finishing flavour at the back on the mouth which will taste bitter or nutty or spice or pepper.

There is also the texture to consider:  Full bodied, creamy, smooth...

When you hear green finish, or spicy finish,it means the flavour at the very end of tasting.

Some general terms you can use to find your perfect olive oil: 

BUTTERY: creamy, smooth sensation on the palate.

FRESH: good aroma, fruity or green.

ROUND: a balanced, mouth-filling sensation of harmonious flavours.

BITTER: considered a positive attribute because it is indicative of fresh olive fruit.

PEPPERY: stinging sensation in the throat, which can force a cough.

NUTTY: an almond or walnut flavour.

SPICY: aroma/flavour of seasonings such as cinnamon, allspice.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine which olive oil you prefer?

  1. Does it have a bitter/spicy taste? This is primarily sensed on the back of the mouth. The flavour usually determines the freshness of the oil. If you don’t like it, search for oils made from a late harvest or sweeter varieties of olives, such as Nocellara or Mission. 
  2. When you swallow, does it have a peppery finish? Sometimes it might make you cough. Do you like the pepperiness? The most common peppery olive is Hojiblanca. 
  3. How does it feel overall? The most important question is also the most obvious one, do you like it? Is it something you see yourself use every day? 

Remember there is no right or wrong answer, only a personal preference. 

A lot of olive oils are made out of a blend of olives. The oil made out of one variety is called monovarietal, or monocultivar olive oil. Blends are crafted using oils from two or more cultivars. The producers will identify which varieties they used in a blend. 

Blends are usually more layered in terms of the profile. They have a much stronger flavour and a richer taste. Monovarietals have more of one delicious flavour, but your mouth will taste the different components as it travels from the front to the back of your palate.

Finding your personal favourite olive oil is like finding a staple fragrant - it’s yours for life. 

Here are our different categories of EVOO:




Recipe idea: 

Use olive oil instead of butter on your popcorn. Choose a buttery, smooth kind for that rich texture. Drizzle evenly, and add salt, paprika or your favourite seasoning (I love shichimi togarashi for it’s crunchy, spicy flavour). If you like truffle, mix a bit of truffle oil with olive oil before putting it on the popcorn. Enjoy the best homemade popcorn of your life! 

How to tell if your olive oil is rancid? 

To determine if the oil expired - sniff it. You’ll notice a very unpleasant smell of an old oil right out of the bottle—like crayons or putty or old peanuts. If you smell or taste musty, vinegary, metallic flavours then it is time to replace it. But don’t throw it away - use it as a polish oil for your wooden furniture.