Best olive oils

(Photo: Iliada)Tasters swirled, sniffed, and sipped 22 EVOOs to find the best for dressings and more.

Iliada Olive Oil

Tasters' Pick: A big hit with tasters, the fresh, "grassy" aroma of Iliada's moderately priced Greek import ($11.99 for 16.09 oz., amazon.com) was echoed in its clean, green flavor. This "peppery" oil burns a little on the way down, making it hard to ignore those good-for-you polyphenols.




(Photo: Columela)Columela Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The Spanish splurge of Columela ($17.99 for 17 oz.) tasted exactly like cured olives, making it a shoe-in for drizzling over bread or pasta. Its well-balanced, but "robust" flavor had a "buttery" finish with only a mild kick at the end.








(Photo: California Olive Ranch)California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The "very mellow," "light" tasting California Olive Ranch ($10.50 for 16.9 oz., amazon.com) has an almost sweet "nuttiness" and a "fruity" scent reminiscent of green olives. With just a "little bite," this olive oil is a great option for those seeking a more mild, everyday oil.






Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pompeian olive oil ($7.99 for 24 oz., amazon.com) polarized reviewers with its taste and smell. Volunteers who enjoyed the oil described it as "fresh" and "herbaceous," but other tasters complained about a strong, "plastic-y" odor. Critics also criticized the oil's "waxy" flavor, with one reviewer declaring it was only fit to "send back to the store."





(Photo: Lucini)Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Most reviewers had positive remarks about the light "herbal" and "fruity" scent of Lucini olive oil ($16.99 for 16.9 oz., amazon.com), with one taster noting a "slight lemon" aroma. Volunteers enjoyed how it coated the tongue and savored its bitterness, calling it "zesty."






(Photo: Olivista)Olivista Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Volunteers expressed varying opinions about Olivista olive oil's ($10.99 for 16.9 oz.) "floral" and "mellow" flavor and smell. Although some savored these qualities, with one reviewer commenting the oil would be "perfect for dipping bread," others detected a "stale" note. Critics also complained about its cloying texture and "harsh" aftertaste.





(Photo: Elizabeth Griffin/Hearst)DeCecco Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Although fans of DeCecco olive oil ($13.99 for 33.8 oz., amazon.com) savored its "clean," "mellow," and "buttery" flavor, many volunteers criticized it for its tongue-coating nature. Regarding scent, some tasters described the oil as "fresh" and "earthy," albeit slightly "nondescript."






(Photo: Carapelli)Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Although several tasters relished the "pepperiness" and "spiciness" of Carapelli olive oil ($7.35 for 17 oz., amazon.com), most were put off by the "assertive" aftertaste, which they complained was "acidic" and "burning." Many volunteers described the scent as pleasantly "green" and "fresh."





(Photo: O-Live)O-Live Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Editors' Pick: O-Live Olive Oil ($9.99 for 25 oz.) pleased many tasters, who called the flavor "nutty," "buttery" and "earthy" and the scent "floral" and "sweet." Other volunteers, however, thought the oil's aroma was a little "stale."






(Photo: Filippo Berio)Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The cheapest oil we tested, priced at $0.30 per ounce, Filippo Berio ($4.99 for 16.9 oz.) garnered favorable reviews for its overall mildness, but failed please with its flavor. This olive oil was praised for its "fresh" and "mellow" scent, with one volunteer commenting that it "makes me ready for lunch." Disappointing, though, was the oil's "metallic" and "artificial" taste, as well as its "overpowering" bitterness.




(Photo: Colavita)Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Although Colavita ($18.69 for 34 oz., amazon.com) received some points for its "floral" and "herbaceous" smell, its "extremely bitter" flavor sparked intense reactions in volunteers. Many complained the oil tasted "acidic" and "harsh."






(Photo: Divina)Divina Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Many tasters agreed that Divina olive oil ($13.99 for 16.9 oz., amazon.com) smelled "clean" and "woody," but the product failed to deliver in flavor. A few reviewers enjoyed the "fruity" taste of the oil, with one volunteer comparing it to apples. Most, however, did not care for the flavor, calling it "soapy" and "waxy."





(Photo: Vigo)Vigo Imported Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Although one reviewer complimented Vigo olive oil's ($7.49 for 16.9 oz., amazon.com) noticeably "green" scent, most others found its aroma and taste underwhelming. Typical comments noted the oil's mild smell and "plain," "bland" flavor.







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