It is not uncommon for a brand to win an award in some other competition, or receive excellent third-party testing reports, and fail to win in the NYIOOC.

When a sample fails to win an award, it means the judging panel did not score the oil in the award range. It does not necessarily mean the oil is of poor quality.

The NYIOOC judges are trained to identify and evaluate the positive and negative characteristics (defects) in olive oil samples at the time of tasting.

The defects are often subtle, but their presence suggests that there is a step in the production process that could be improved.

If any defects were observed by the panel, they are noted on the brand's page in Producer Tools along with some likely causes and ways to address them.

If no defects are noted, and the brand failed to win an award, it means the judges did not observe sufficient degrees of olfactory and gustatory quality characteristics to warrant an award-level score.

All results are verified and final. We do not publicly reveal non-winning brands and details of the judges' findings are not disclosed. For more information, see the NYIOOC Terms and Conditions.


Olive Oil Negative Attributes

Fusty

Fustiness is usually caused by olives that have had prolonged storage prior to processing and have undergone an advanced stage of anaerobic fermentation, or when oil comes in contact with old olive paste on inadequately cleaned processing equipment.

Some common sensory assessment descriptors include tapenade, olive mill wastewater and black olives.

Musty

Mustiness can result from olives that have large quantities of fungi and yeasts due to prolonged storage in humid conditions, or fruit that has been crushed with small amounts of dirt or mud.

Some common sensory assessment descriptors include sweaty socks, gym clothes and moldy hay.

Winey

The winey defect usually results from olives that have had prolonged storage prior to processing and have undergone aerobic fermentation resulting in the presence of yeast and acetic acid bacteria.

Some common sensory assessment descriptors include nail polish, solvent, vinegar and wine.

Muddy Sediment

When oil is left in contact with sediment in tanks and packages and has undergone anaerobic fermentation, it can lead to a musty sediment defect.

Some common sensory assessment descriptors include salami, sewer dregs and cheese.

Metallic

Prolonged contact with non-stainless steel surfaces in processing or storage can lead to the metallic negative attribute.

Some common sensory assessment descriptors include metals, tin and rusty nails.

Rancidity

Olive oil that has undergone significant oxidation caused by excessive or prolonged exposure to light, heat and air will exhibit rancidity.

Some common sensory assessment descriptors include stale walnuts, old oils, old butter, lipstick and play-doh.

Heated/Burnt

Prolonged heating or a high temperature during malaxation will lead to a heated/burnt negative attribute.

Some common sensory assessment descriptors include boiled vegetables and burnt caramel.

Frostbitten

The frostbitten defect is caused by freeze injuries in olive fruits.

This defect has become one of the most common negative attributes due to climate change and modified weather patterns.

Some common sensory assessment descriptors include wet wood, wet hay and stewed fruit.


The Olive Oil Times Education Lab offers a three-part video series in English with Italian and Spanish subtitles, How to Produce an Award-Winning Olive Oil, which might help identify the areas where your production processes could be improved.

Olive Oil Times Education Lab