The sensory wheel of virgin olive oil


  • Jos Mojet Unilever Research Laboratorium, Vlaardingen
  • Sijmen de Jong Unilever Research Laboratorium, Vlaardingen



COI method, QDA method, Sensory analysis, Sensory Wheel, Virgin olive oil


During a 3-year FLAIR study extra virgin olive oils, varying in species, degree of ripeness and extraction method, were evaluated by 6 different institutes according to QDA or GDI-methods in order to identify parameters related to the quality of extra virgin olive oil. The current COI-method yields a poor between-panel reproducibility. This could well be caused by a difference in the perception of positive quality aspects. Whereas the QDA-method is especially suitable for determining sensory profiles according to the perception of the consumer, the COI-method should be tailored to detect possible defects only.
In order to cluster all attributes to one condensed set of sensory attributes for describing virgin olive oil, the COI and QDA data of ail panels were pooled and analyzed separately for appearance, texture and flavour. This approach resulted in a set of 3 appearance, 3 texture and 12 flavour descriptors which can be conveniently represented graphically in the form of a "sensory wheel".
On the basis of the findings it is recommended to base the "extra virgin" qualification for olive oils solely on the absence of defects. The between-panel reproducibility of such a simplified COI-test can be assessed by means of ring tests and improved by training with reference products. When an oil passes this screening it can be profiled subsequently using the attributes of the sensory wheel. Such a profile can be linked to preferential profiles derived from consumer studies enabling the production of most preferred olive oils.


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How to Cite

Mojet J, de Jong S. The sensory wheel of virgin olive oil. Grasas aceites [Internet]. 1994Apr.30 [cited 2024Apr.23];45(1-2):42-7. Available from: