The Taster’s profile has its own well rooted history, that refers back to the times when the first “branded” oil companies were born.
In this case, the Italian cities of Imperia, Lucca and Spoleto took on a prime role: it is precisely in these districts that the most famous brands were born, including Sasso, Carli, Bertolli, Carapelli and Monini to mention but a few.
During this time the Imperia port led the way in the olive oil industry, with products arriving from all over the Mediterranean: it is no coincidence then that the oldest tasting school was founded here, The National Organization of Olive Oil Tasters (ONAOO)
In the south of Italy, where most of the production was concentrated at the time, sales were either sent “straight” from the mill to local consumers or sold “in bulk” – tankers – to oil companies located in the central and northern regions.
In these privately owned companies, it was up to the owner to buy the raw materials, and he was often accompanied by a professional oil taster.
Behind this profession, at an impasse between technique and art, lies not only natural traits but also direct field experience. The tasting is a fundamental moment not only for the selection of the lots to be purchased but also for the formation of the blends and the control of the organoleptic quality of the finished product.
After years of being confined to the hands of a few experts, this profession has begun to take on clearer and more suitable contours for the general public. Perhaps there will be a repeat of the wine world, with the introduction of oil sommeliers, professional presenters, and those that approach the olive oil world with a greater awareness, even at amateur level.
After all, tasting is a fundamental moment in examining the quality of an oil!