Tasting olive oil is a little tricky to do at home. Once a bottle is opened, the shelf life is limited and even if it seems like you’re going through it like water, there is a limit to how much you can use before it goes bad.
Recently, thanks to the great series of webinars that Culture Magazine put on, there have been about a dozen bottles of various sizes in my kitchen. My strategy was that when the bottles I was working on got low, I’d put them aside and open another, so I’d finally have good variety to do a taste test.
Olive oil, like wine, is a matter of personal taste. I happen to like mine flavorful but mild, not too peppery. I tasted 3 Spanish and 1 Italian against my everyday oil (Greek). All of these except for the Trader Joe’s oil are available online and may be in your local specialty store.
- Trader Joe’s Greek Olive Oil: This is my go-to daily use olive oil. My good friend Jan buys them for me 2 at a time, since TJ’s still hasn’t graced the Hudson Valley with its presence. It’s got a nice green, fresh nose. The flavor is mild and green, with a little peppery bite and a surprisingly long finish.
- Oro Del Desierto: This is an organic Spanish olive oil from Andalucia with a pleasant grassy scent. The taste is fresh and mild with very little bite. This was great for dressing up my lunch time salads.
- OliveU Peranzana: Before I was gifted all the olive oils to taste, this was my splurge oil. It’s Italian and I can pick it up when I go for bagels. The taste is of good fruit with a little kick to it. It’s smooth and has a fresh scent.
- Marques de Valdeza: Spanish with lots of fresh fruit when you take a sniff. It’s very smooth with a good fruity taste. No bite and a long finish, with long, delicious finish. This is my current favorite.
- Casas d Hualdo Piqual Medium: This was part of a 4 pack “Olivetrotter” TSA approved travel kit, which was very clever (and I did travel with it). A very green, fruity nose, with a sharper flavor. It’s very sharp and a little too peppery for me. Might be something I’d drizzle on gazpacho to garnish.
If you’re interested in doing your own tasting this site has some good information on doing it.