Extra virgin olive oils, virgin olive oils and lamp olive oil are classified according to their organoleptic properties, and for this they have to achieve certain minimum scores in the tasting panels. The activity of these panels is regulated by the Regulation (EC) No 640/2008 of the Commission.10
The colour of virgin olive oils can vary from golden to dark green, depending on the variety of olive used, though this does not mean that its quality is greater or lesser.
In terms of flavour, there is a series of attributes which the tasting panels regard as positive and others as being negative, these are:
Positive attributes: Fruity (which can be green or ripe), bitter and piquant.
Negative attributes: Grains/sediment, mouldy-damp, fungi and yeast, winey-vinegary /acid-sharp, metallic, rancid, cooked or burned, hay-wood, coarse, lubricant, foetid, brine, esparto grass, earth, worms, cucumber, damp wood.
The positive attributes must have a certain balance among each other since, for example, if a piquant taste were to be very predominant this would not be regarded positively. Olive oil (as such) since it is mostly refined olive oil, is not submitted to tasting by panels since it does not possess any organoleptic property that is in the slightest bit comparable to any virgin or extra virgin olive oil. The slight taste or odour which a (non-virgin) olive oil has is due to the small amount of virgin or extra virgin olive oil that it contains.