Organoleptic Assessments of Essential Oils

Organoleptic Assessments are the basic prima facie evaluations, which are performed on receiving an essential oil sample. This testing involves the use of the human senses – sight, taste, smell, and touch. To experienced distillers who are pro in working with essential oils, use their senses, as standards of quality testing to provide instant clues regarding the acceptability of an oil. Naturally, the most significant of our senses for physical testing is the sense of smell and olfaction. However, visual senses also reveal much information about the quality.

Why Organoleptic Testing is crucial?

It’s important for determining the benefit, quality, and gratification that essential oil can offer while comparing two samples distilled from the same botanical source. A sample, for instance, may appear fine when analyzed by other techniques, but aromatically flat or may not be “up to snuff”.

For the below parameters, the human senses can be used to assess the quality of essential oils:

  • Aroma

The aroma of one particular sample can be quite different from another. Multiple factors can impact the quality and the aroma of essential oil. As you move with experience, your nose becomes more ‘sophisticated’, and so does your intuitive sense to describe your aromatic assessment easily. 

  • Colour

Inspecting the color i.e. sediment or cloudiness can prove helpful in whether an essential oil is potentially problematic or not. Some oils become darker with age, which causes them to appear cloudy and more viscous.

  • Texture

Touching undiluted essential oil is not usually recommended, but you can have a general idea by placing a drop or 2 of it on a fragrance strip and observing its evaporation over time. The formation of an oily ring may be due to blended oil.

  • Viscosity

It refers to the thickness of essential oil and is one of the key factors to assure its quality.

  • Taste and flavor

Since this method is related to all senses, so mentioning taste and flavor count. But if you are not trained under the care of a qualified practitioner, then don’t ever try to ingest or use it internally.

Altogether these techniques are subjective, still its helpful and a necessary tool for essential oil evaluations. Along with quantifiable testing, reliable suppliers and distillers use these testing methods to assess the quality and characteristics of essential oils.

As a user, you could also slowly attempt to learn, to use these organoleptic testing techniques with trials.