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Oil and its words



Oil tasting necessarily requires a specific vocabulary. As a matter of fact, a correct and exhaustive evaluation cannot be performed if precise words to describe the subject don’t exist. If we agree on the fact that for an extra virgin olive oil tasting is the necessary procedure to assess quality, but also the most precise, conclusive and convincing, at the same time we have to agree on the fact that words are important in determining the success of a commercial product.

However, words can be dangerous and it is important to pay attention to what we say. This is the reason for the presence of an official and shared vocabulary. Still, we need to pay as much attention as possible to what we say.

The abuse of positive adjectives not linked to the true characteristics of the product is a serious matter. The risk of exaggerating with fantasy is there and it has to be avoided. It is important to stick with the official vocabulary proposed by the International Oil Council. Some years ago there was a famous sensorial analyst that used to employ adjectives such as feminine, concave, convex or even aerial. This exemplifies why a shared vocabulary is so important.

Words are not the only risk during tasting: the moment we perform the tasting is extremely important, too. As a matter of fact, we have to remember that tasting is a tension between emotive and rational elements. Balancing these two components is pivotal. Too much technique can result in a just technical evaluation, which is detrimental for the product. At the same time, too much emotionality comes at the cost of a proper and balanced evaluation of the oil.

by Luigi Caricato
02 july 2012, The Opinion > Editorial

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