Flavour of EVOO

A good evoo will smell and taste fresh with fruity characteristics in balance with bitterness and pungency and have a pleasant after taste. 


Freshness is a difficult term to describe unless you taste a good oil that might be 12 to 18 months old.  It might still be a good, well flavoured oil, but by then the flavour could be described as “tired”.

Look for an olive oil that has a good balance of fruitiness, bitterness and pungency, and above all exhibits freshness.


Fruitiness is usually first detected in the aroma of the oil, and again in the mouth where the added warmth highlights these flavours.  

Early picked olives often exhibit herbaceous flavours, and may include descriptors such as fresh cut grass, rocket, sorrel, green tomato, apple, banana, and many others.

Late picked, ripe olives are more likely to exhibit aromas and tastes of ripe fruit, and may include descriptors such as banana, apple, tomato, guava, etc.

Some olive oils may exhibit spicy, nutty or fragrant aromas and taste

An olive oil with a number of taste descriptors might be called a “complex” oil.


Bitterness  is sensed on the tongue.  A certain amount is needed to add to the overall flavour of the oil.  Early picked fruit usually give rise to oil with more bitterness than riper fruit


Pungency - a peppery / chilli sensation usually experienced at the back of the throat.  The intensity depends on the ripeness and variety of fruit.


Bitterness and pungency should exist in approximately equal intensities.   A robust oil with a lot of bitterness and pepper, should have a lot of fruitiness.    A more delicate oil with low levels of bitterness and pungency is acceptable with a lower level of fruitiness.


A good evoo should leave a pleasant sensation in the mouth.