How to differentiate an early-harvest vs late-harvest extra virgin olive oil?
All olives begin their life in green, and mature to a deep purple-black; their color reflects their grade of maturation. Normally, early-harvest oils, called premium as well, tend to emit strong aromas of freshly cut grass and bitter spices, that finalize with a a hot and persistent touch of black pepper that spreads slowly to the back of the throat. Late-harvest oils, however, tend to be gentle, delicate and ethereal, with sweet nuances of almond or banana. The presence of olfactory or gustatory defects degrades an oil that is in the extra virgin category. Tasting panels are trained to analyze and identify these faults correctly. For example, those oils that recall black-olive tapenade, or which emit certain aromas of wine or vinegar are showing us sign of anaerobic or aerobic fermentation. Also, an extra virgin olive oil will never leave a greasy or disagreeable texture on the palate. There are, evidently, many more defects that can be appreciated in mouth, rancid, dirty, moldy, frozen sediments, but it's best to leave that to professional tasters.