How to Judge Olive Oil

Bottled Olive Oil


The colour of an olive oil is related to the amount of chlorophyll it contains. Olives that are picked earlier in the season tend to be green and therefore make the oil have a greener colour. Olives that are picked late in the season will typically be of a reddish colour and produce more golden coloured oils due to a higher level of carotene like substances.


Fresh grassy flavours with spicy peppery finish. Green aroma followed onto palate. Late but balanced bitterness.


The oil should have clean, fresh, green, herbs, tomato leaf, strong intensity, attractive, complex aromas. There should be minimal faults such as rancidity, mustiness or fustiness.


Clean mouthfeel with long length.


Depending on the variety, process and other factors, some olive oils can be cloudy. This can be caused by small particles of olive that remain after the processing of oil. Generally this sediment settles out of the oil, however long term contact with sediment can lead to a shorter shelf life and off characters to form. If the olive oil has been stored in a very cool environment, the natural waxes in the oil crystallise to cause a cloudy look. Warming the oil slightly will cause the crystals to melt into the oil.

The above judging criteria and comments have been provided for the purpose of education and do not represent the views, opinions or position of judges, officials or the RA&HS. Any resemblance to actual persons, competitors, or exhibits living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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