Trader Joe's President's Reserve Review

Think Twice
(1 vote) While two testers had strong adverse reactions to the taste, some liked the "strong olive flavor" of this Italian import. The "acrid" aftertaste is what put them off.

Whether tasters liked this extra virgin olive oil or not, they reached the same conclusion in our Trader Joe's President's Reserve review: It's strong. Although a few of the testers liked the intense olive taste, one said this particular brand "pulls away from my idea of olive oil" and another noted that it doesn't have an olive smell, despite the strong taste. The greener color turned out to be misleading: It led tasters to expect a rich, fruity flavor, as opposed to the intense flavor that put some people off in our review. The problem cited by most unsatisfied tasters, however, was a bitter aftertaste they described as totally over the top. That suggests Trader Joe's President's Reserve wouldn't excel as a cooking oil, unless you favor very strongly flavored food capable of holding its own against the taste of the oil. The olive oil's lack of delicacy would seem to rule it out for drizzling or dipping. Trader Joe's, however, specifically recommends this oil for just that -- dipping bread.

The President's Reserve oil ($5.99 for 1 liter, or 18 cents per ounce) is not just imported from Italy; it's made from olives that are grown there, which is unusual in an oil that costs so little. The price per ounce is by far the cheapest on our list, but the reactions in our Trader Joe's President's Reserve review were so mixed and so dramatic -- it actually made two testers cough -- that it proved a tough sell. It garnered only one vote from our panel. It's available only by the liter, so if you choose this cheap option, follow experts' advice and decant a bit of it at a time.

Elizabeth Sheer

Elizabeth Sheer is a Brooklyn-based writer and researcher. In addition to researching and writing about household appliances and other consumer items, Elizabeth draws on her history of preparing cooking-related articles to conduct taste tests on all things delicious.

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