The olive oil section at the grocery store is quite the nightmare of indecision. And if you’re paying big bucks for your bottle, the struggle gets even more intense. Should you choose Italian, Greek, Spanish, or American olive oil? Is it all about personal preference? Do you want to find your preferred oil through experimentation or do you fancy a good tip and professional suggestions? We are pretty sure you’ll end up choosing based on personal preference, but to make it easier, we go through some of the finest, and most expensive, brands out there.
What to look for in the best olive oil
The highest quality olive oil is an extra virgin extraction. This means the oil is cold pressed and only the best ingredients are used. But there are some other characteristics to take into account if you are going to invest in a high priced brand.
- Look for dark, opaque bottles or metallic containers since olive oil does not hold its properties when exposed to sunlight.
- Look for certification by the North American Olive Oil Association or the International Olive Oil Council.
- Try the flavor and be aware of the scent and aroma. You will know when it is rancid as it smells like Play-Doh. A mild bitterness and pungent aroma means perfect olive oil. A mildew flavor? Avoid that one!
- Look for the harvest date. Most olives are picked and pressed starting late October until early November.
- Look for fatty acid content (acidity must be less than 0.8 percent for high quality extra virgin oils).
Most luxurious olive oil brands cost more. And here’s why!
We’ve all heard about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. We all know olive oil plays a huge role in this cuisine and has many amazing benefits for our health. But what makes an olive oil high class? Well, class doesn’t come from just one element.
When it comes to the best olive oil, we’re talking perfect storm: when to pick the olives, what’s the perfect moment to process the fruit and extract the oil, how much sunlight did the olives get, are the humidity and oxygen levels optimum, is the tree the tree the best shape (all the branches should be equally exposed to the elements)? Get all this right and then you’ll have the best robust yet delicate, sweet, smooth aroma we expect from the best olive oil with a fatty acid less than 0,8 percent.
So everything matters when it comes to obtaining that liquid gold the gods gave us. Some of the best olive oil brands make sure to reduce the time between fruit picking and mill processing. The shorter the time, the slighter the chances the olives will oxidize and the oil lose its perfect taste and aroma. Another important factor for good olive oil is the temperature they are processed at. Higher temperatures mean more juice is extracted from the olives but the oil loses aroma, taste, and nutritional value. The most exclusive brands process at lower temperatures.
That’s why you should always go for oils labeled cold press or first press. And this explains why there are so many differences between a generic $10 and a $50 bottle of olive oil. But so the most expensive brands differ in any way? What should we be looking for? that’s what we answer here where you can find out about some of the most expensive olive oil brands.
15 of the most expensive olive oil brands in the world
While the average buyer may not want to cash checks to buy olive oil, foodies and chefs tend to get enthusiastic about these brands. Let’s begin the olive oil extravaganza!
1. E-La-Won Luxury Edition (Greece) – $729
E-La-Won Limited Luxury Edition with edible flakes of 24-carat gold is probably the most expensive olive oil ever sold. This olive oil has a long-lasting tradition that goes back more than… are you ready? 3,500 years! It’s been called nature’s secret in a bottle or liquid gold and it’s from the marvelous island of Mykonos.
2. Montebello Xvr Olive Oil (Italy) – $196
Extravergine. That’s what Xvr means. This Italian olive oil is made in a monastery established in 1388. Montebello cherishes old traditions, hence the olives are hand-picked and the juice is extracted with an old-school press. This olive oil is much appreciated for its intense flavor and its dark green color.
3. Lambda (Greece) – $134
Lambda, from Greece, Crete, to be more specific, is an ultra-premium variety. You will not be finding it in everyday stores, but you will see it in gourmet shops and delis and some of the poshest hotels. Made from hand-picked Koroneiki Olives, this cold pressed oil has a fruity, sweet taste with no acidity and no bitter aftertaste.
4. Manni (Italy) – $75
This organic Italian olive oil comes from Tuscany, from a specialist gourmet company and is very much sought after by chefs and food enthusiasts. We’re not kidding, even Gordon Ramsey uses it in his restaurants.
5. Laudemio (Italy) – $39
Laudemio comes from Tuscany, Italy, and while its only been going for 30 years, it’s got itself the reputation of being the Ferrari of olive oils. Half a liter of this oil goes for about 40 dollars.
5. Napa Valley Naturals Olive Oil (US) – $35
This is a cold pressed extra virgin olive oil made from Koroneiki and Arbequina dark purple olives. It has a fruity, sweet taste and it’s not filtered.
6. Ellora Farms (Greece) – $33
Ellora is known to be one of the most expensive olive oil brands and is centuries old. The olives used to make this oil are cultivated somewhere in the middle of the Aegean Sea, between the Samaria Canyon and Kolymvari Beach.
7. Olmais (Portugal) – $32
Quinta Dos Olmais from Portugal is known for its interesting blend of aromas. Bitter-sweet chicory, earthy walnut, dense, intense artichoke flavor, tomato leaf and olive leaf make this oil a wonderful choice for every foodie out there. At about 32 bucks a bottle, this oil from olives picked on the hillside in Vila Flor is quite the bargain, as you’ll find out below.
8. Henri Mor (Spain) – $31
An olive oil from sunny, caliente Spain, Henri Mor has won many medals at conferences and events worldwide. A 500 ml bottle sells for about 25 dollars.
9. Merula (Spain) – $28
Are you looking to present someone with an expensive extra virgin olive oil? Merula has a great mild and aromatic taste and its packaging makes it a perfect gift. Well, for $27.95 a half a liter bottle, you can treat yourself too!
10. Seggiano (Italy) – $22
Some of the bestsellers in Italy, Seggiano comes from idyllic Tuscany. It has a peppery flavor, but is rather mild and has a nutty, rich, buttery creaminess to it, though maintaining a smooth, light, fresh texture and aroma. You might want to try this one, mi raccomando!
11. Spectrum Organic (US) – $20
Wholly organic, cold pressed with a fruity aroma and a nutty, earthy hint, this olive oil is made in the US.
12. Saica Castelvetrano (Italy) – $20
This oil is obtained by a classic method where the olives are squeezed and pressed in order to obtain the juices, which go for about 20 dollars a liter.