Olive variety

In Spain there are different types of olives for oil crop that offer a high quality of different shades and hues.

Those touches which differentiate one oil from another basically depend on the climatic conditions in which the olive has been grown or on the olive class used.

Let’s do a review of the main olive varieties and explain their distinctive characteristics, such as maturation period, origin or flavor notes.

Some of the most popular varieties used in Spain are:

Arbequina: The most representative olives of Catalonia, produces fruity oils, between green and yellow, with aromas of fresh, soft and sweet apple and almond. The plant is of little vigor, with long shoots and a little branched. The leaf is corrugated and wide at the tip, while the fruit is small, oval and almost symmetrical.

Cornicabra: It is dominant in the entire central area (Toledo, Ciudad Real and Madrid). Its oils are between greenish yellow and gold. Fresh aromas and taste between sweet, sour and slightly spicy. The tree is of medium vigor with bunches of medium length, with little sprouting. The leaf is long and lanceolate and the fruit is long, curved, asymmetrical and with horn-shaped belly.

Empeltre: Typical olive in Lower Aragon. It produces oils of colors between straw yellow and old gold. It has fruit aromas, especially of apple, and mild and sweet flavor. The tree is very vigorous with upright branches and wide somewhat warped leaves. The fruit is asymmetrical and elongated.

Hojiblanca: A dominant variety in Malaga and Cordoba, with double application: for oil and for table. It produces oils of rich green color, with aromas of ripe fruit and notes of avocado, presenting a pleasant taste with slight bitter and itching notes. The tree is of medium to strong vigor with a head medium density. The leaf is elongated and partially corrugated, and the fruit is large and oblong.

Picual: The great variety predominant in Jaen. Its oil has a great stability and personality, strength, fruitiness, an intense bitterness and light spicy tones. The tree vigor is good, with vigorous heads and great foliaceous development. The leaf is elongated and the fruit is ellipsoidal.

Picudo: or picuda, also known as the rough olive of Cordova. This variety is widespread in the provinces of Cordoba, Granada, Malaga and Jaen. Its oil is sensitive to oxidation. One can find light flavors and aromas reminiscent of exotic fruit, as well as of apple and almond.

Farga: A variety native to southern Tarragona and northern Castellon, and a part of Teruel province. Its trees are very vigorous, open shape, with straight somewhat pendulous branches. They have leafy heads, where the fruit is sometimes isolated. These fruits are small to medium size and hang from a long stalk. Maturation is early and they are highly resistant to detachment. The oil yield is high (26-28%) with very good quality oils.

Blanqueta: It is grown in Alicante and in the south of Valencia. It produces oils of green leaf hue and fruity aromas with notes of green tomato. The palate develops gently spicy and bitter sensations. The tree is of little vigor with short branches, the leaf is short and lanceolate, and the fruit is somewhat oval and slightly asymmetrical.

Cacereña: Also called a manzanilla cacereña for its dissemination in the province of Caceres. It is a dual-purpose variety and it is much appreciated for food seasoning in both green and black forms, for the quality of its flesh. It is a tree of low vigor, early flowering and maturation. Its leaves are flat and of medium length, and the fruit is spherical in shape, although somewhat asymmetrical.

Verdial de Badajoz: It grows in the plains of the Guadiana. It produces oils with aromas of green olives and nuts (almonds). In the palate it is known for its sweetness. The tree is resistant to drought and is used as a standard. The fruit is large and dual-purpose.

Carrasqueña: A subvariety of manzanilla and is known by this name in the province of Caceres.

Lechín de Sevilla: It is mainly distributed in the provinces of Seville and Cordoba. Its oil is relatively unstable with an average and balanced aroma and a bitter taste. The tree is vigorous with short branches and thick head. The leaf is short and almost flat and the fruit is ellipsoidal and slightly curved over the back.

Manzanilla: It is cultivated in the province of Seville, mainly in the vicinity of the capital. The tree is of little vigor and the head is not dense. The leaves are short and thick, and the fruit is oval. It is mainly used as a seasoning product.

Gordal: Both its origin and cultivation are linked to the province of Seville. The tree is of medium vigor with long, thick branches. The leaf is elongated and very straight, and the fruit is large, heart-shaped and slightly asymmetrical. It is suitable for seasoning.

Variety

Maturity index

Fatty acids

Tocophenols

Vitamin E

Polyphenols

Raceme stability

K270

K225

C16

C’16

C18

C’18

C’’18

C’’’18

C20

Picual

2.80

11.51

1.24

2.80

78.93

3.87

1.16

0.38

322

790

171.90

0.19

0.31

Hojiblanca

2.98

11.72

0.99

3.05

69.04

12.76

1.68

0.31

463

209

40.90

0.10

0.15

Cornicabra

2.08

13.69

1.74

2.77

75.43

4.32

1.32

0.52

193

809

148.30

0.19

0.47

Lechín

2.64

12.99

1.03

1.77

69.25

12.58

1.40

0.34

191

766

72.40

0.16

0.55

Arbequina

1.84

17.33

2.06

1.58

62.30

14.97

1.14

0.34

237

195

46.10

0.10

0.16

Picudo

2.38

14.67

1.33

1.42

66.60

12.28

1.84

0.28

426

445

45.80

0.16

0.09

Empeltre

3.06

13.23

2.37

1.83

61.97

19.22

1.63

0.33

340

195

29.00

0.06

0.14

Manzanilla

3.33

14.45

1.16

3.38

68.19

9.04

1.38

0.50

287

545

80.00

0.14

0.29