As you know, I'm always on the look out for interesting new olive oils, particularly at budget prices, so when I saw a promotion at Tesco on Borges oils I was immediately intrigued. I'm normally wary of big internationally successful brands of olive oil — I prefer obscure makes, or supermarket own brands.
But in this case I couldn't resist the promise of a "Fruity Taste" extra virgin olive oil. And the description of it being 100% arbequina olives suggested it would be a cut above the usual. And, crucially, the price was down from five quid a bottle to three quid (in other words, it cost £6 a litre). I hesitated, counted my pennies... but the fruity taste claim and the arbequina olives had seduced me. I bought a bottle.
So I imagine my horror on the bus going home when I checked the bottle and saw the expiry date on the oil was a mere four months away. The oil had already been in the bottle for 14 months. No surprise, then, when I got it home and found that it tasted flat and uninteresting. I took it back to Tesco's and returned it, telling them it was stale, which I felt it was.
I exchanged it for another bottle. Unfortunately every bottle in the store was on the same dates. This second bottle actually tasted slightly better — I think it might have been a different batch, or stored under better conditions. It was pleasant and buttery.
But a comparison with my current standard baseline extra virgin olive oil, Lidl's Prima Donna immediately showed how insipid the Borges was. The Prima Donna was complex, spicy and flavourful. The Borges simply tasted flat. Given that result, and the fact the Prima Donna is half the price of the Borges — even when the Borges is at a reduced price — I won't be buying this Fruity Taste again any time soon.
I don't think Tesco or Borges are doing the brand any favours by selling such old stock.
(Image credits: the dark green image is from the Borges website — sorry chaps, I'm sure you do some fine oils. This specimen just was not one of them. The light green picture is from Tesco, who are a bit naughty to be selling such an uninspiring and late-dated product on promotion and pretending it's some kind of bargain.)