Mary Roach tells Terry Gross about attending an olive oil tasting panel at University of California, Davis:
I was trying out to become someone who would be a sensory analyst who’d … be able to make fine discriminations among different olive oils and be able to tell if it’s fusty or rancid, or if it’s got a stale walnut taste or sewer-dregs taste. There are all these off tastes that olive oil develops depending on how it was made and stored, and if you’re really, really good at identifying these very specific odors [and] flavors, you can work as a sensory analyst in the industry. I, however, was unable to discriminate between five olive oils that were apparently in all differing degrees of bitterness. To me they a) weren’t bitter, any of them, and b) tasted all the same.
The 40 Year Old Virgin Olive Oil by Zachary Kanin