Who tastes, who?

Lorenzo Cerretani

Throughout the years, I have taken part in many national and international oil contests, and in my capacity of taster/judge or tasting panel coordinator, I have been in charge of compiling many scorecards. In the light of my experience, and thanks to my frequent contacts with the oil production sector, I can state in all fairness that both contests and score-sheets have contributed to the professional growth of oil producers and their increased awareness towards quality.

That said, I am still amazed by the number of new contests that are continuously cropping up, and by the results in some of them. In particular, I find it hard to understand why so little importance is given to the judges and why are their credentials are not made known to the participants. Personally, I think it would be useful to know the level of experience of each member of the judging panel, the number of oils submitted, the number of samples tasted daily and therefore the overall number of samples appraised by each judge.

These elements would shed more light on the results. Without this information it is difficult to understand why an oil entered in a number of contests held more or less contemporaneously, often falls into different categories. More than once I have found an oil classified as intensely fruity in one contest and light fruity in another.

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