Draw your own conclusions
While it is true that practically all the competitions held yearly to distinguish olive oil quality tend to use professional tasters in their juries and generally abide by the International Olive Council protocols in their classifications, it is also true that they do not all share the same prestige.
Up until recently, the criticisms of certain events were limited to close circles, defining them as pure business to attract participants with the promise of an evening from which they would almost certainly walk away with an award, as long as they met with the minimal quality requirements. This is so much the case that, according to what we’ve been hearing for some time, a considerable number of producers decide not to submit their products and many tasters decline a lot of the invitations they receive.
A similar argument was publicly put forward by the organisers of the World’s Best Olive Oils (WBOO) at the start of this year to justify their controversial decision to leave out the results obtained in three of these competitions in their calculations of the best olive oils and mills this year, as we explained in our special report on awards published in this edition.
For their part, the organisers of the competitions in question are indignant about what they consider an absurd omission. Or this at least is what Raúl C. Castellani transmitted to us in the interview we also published in this edition of OLIVARAMA.
For our part, we simply reflect both perspectives without declaring in favour of either. Which is also why we included the complaints against the WBOO criteria due to its inclusion of certain competitions and exclusion of others using the excuse of the high number of awards they grant given that, if this were really the reason, they would have to leave far more competitions out of their calculations.
On the other hand, we commend the effort made by WBOO when drawing up this ranking given that some of the competitions included do not publish the brand names of the winning oils, but rather just the companies name which, occasionally are presented under different or even misspelled names. Those who do publish the brand name, don’t always publish it in its entirely or, if they do they sometimes omit the varietal the oils are made of meaning that if they pertain to a range of various oils, it is hard to pinpoint exactly which one won the award.
Having reached this point, we have little alternative but to paraphrase the journalist Ana Pastor and say “this is the data, draw your own conclusion”.