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El Olivo :: How to taste olive oil

It is important to bear in mind that the tongue is only able to perceive four primary tastes : acid -in the sides and the back, sweet - it is sensed at the tip of the mouth, salty- at the edges, but not in the central surface and bitter- only at the back. The other tastes are combinations of these mentioned four. The peppery, astringent or bitter feelings are just tactile sensations. For instance, pungency is not a taste, but a sensation perceived by the whole of the mouth: it is in the throat where it is best perceived, and its intensity increases with time.

Our oral and nasal cavities are internally communicated, so that when the oil is inside the mouth it is still possible to perceive smells via the retro nasal passage.  How to taste olive oilThe aroma is made of the smells we perceive retro nasally as well as directly. The flavour is made up of the olfactory, gustatory, tactile and kinaesthetic sensations produced by organolepticas cavities.

In oils, the organolepticas characteristic are the joint sensory qualities which reflect four main factors: 1. - the state of the olives, 2. - the olive extraction process, 3. - the olive strafing process in the olive mill and 4. - The stages the olive goes through until it gets to the final consumer. The sensory chacarecteristicts of a virgin olive oil are the reflection of these four factors

Olive oils must be tasted at a temperature of 28 degrees Celsius. The oil is distributed in blue-coloured balloon glasses. The glass shape allows the odours to concentrate and the temperature is ideal to release the volatility of the aromatic compounds. The glasses are blue because in olive tasting the colour is not important. Unlike with wine tasting, colour is not directly correlated to its organolepticas characteristics.

As in any tasting, the final result is a combination of various stages: visual, olfactory, gustatory, tactile and the grade of balance/harmony.