Organoleptic (sensory) evaluation (panel test)
The sensory evaluation is based on the human perception of the sensory organs of smell and taste. The method estimates the tasting and smelling characteristics of olive oil and applies only to the classification of virgin olive oils according to the intensity of defects as determined by a group of selected and trained tasters.
In extra virgin olive oil "the median defect" in the sensory evaluation must be 0. The tasting and smelling- evaluation of olive oil is the basis of the following positive and negative attributes that rank each category of olive oil:
Fruity (Median for extra virgin oil >0)
Fusty/muddy sediment: characteristic flavour of oil from olives that have
been piled or stored in such a way as to have reached an advanced stage of
anaerobic fermentation, or of oil which has been left in contact with the
sediment that settles in underground tanks and vats and which has also
undergone a process of anaerobic fermentation.
Rancid:flavour of oil that has undergone an intense process of oxidation.
Heated or burnt: characteristic flavour caused by excessive and/or
prolonged heating during production, particularly by thermo-mixing of the
paste in unsuitable conditions.