The best way to discover an oil’s flavor is to sip it “neat” – meaning on its own without bread or other food. This will allow you to savor the oil’s flavor without distraction.
The 4 S’s:
Swirl: This releases the oil’s aroma molecules. Keep the oil covered until ready to sniff.
Sniff: Uncover the oil and quickly inhale from the rim of the cup. Take note of the intensity and the description of the aroma.
Slurp: Take a small sip of the oil while also “sipping” some air. This slurping action emulsifies the oil and helps to spread it throughout your mouth. You should take note of the *retro-nasal aroma as well as the intensity of bitterness.
Swallow: An oil’s pungency is judged by a sensation in your throat so you must swallow at least a small amount to thoroughly evaluate it. If the oil makes your throat scratchy or makes you want to cough, it is a pungent oil.
*Our taste buds discern only 5 flavors – salt, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami. All other flavor sensations come from retro-nasal aroma, which is the smell of the food while it is in our mouths.
Get some delicious extra virgin olive oil and start tasting today!