5 reasons to taste olive oil in Jaén


5 reasons to taste olive oil in Jaén

5 reasons to taste olive oil in Jaén 650 418 Andalucia360

Olive oil in Jaén is much more than a product. It is an age-old culture, a way of life and a great business in which a large part of its inhabitants participate. The fact that the province of Jaén is the capital of olive oil is not a product of luck; it has special climatic and historical reasons. 

Tasting olive oil in Jaén is a real experience, because excellent quality oils are produced here and because of a few other things that we will tell you below.

This post is going to be a bit shorter than the ones we usually write, but we are going to give you the keys to get to know olive oil in Jaén.  


Without a doubt, Jaén has the perfect climate for the cultivation of the olive tree. This tree likes winters that are not excessively cold and not very humid (200-400 mm of annual rainfall) and hot, dry summers. It is undoubtedly a rainfed crop, as its narrow, hard leaves are designed to lose as little water as possible. As regards the soil, olive trees do not require particularly fertile soils, although they do require well-drained soils.

All these conditions are met in Jaén, but they are also found along most of the Mediterranean coasts of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. So there are more things that make this oil so special. Let’s continue…

Paisaje de olivos en Jaén

Landscape dominated by olive trees in Jaén.


Tasting olive oil in Jaén goes beyond tasting, it also involves contemplating the geographical space in which it is produced. It is estimated that there are some 60 million olive trees in Jaén, sometimes completely covering the landscape. This is sometimes called ‘the sea of olive trees’.

We do not want to give an idyllic image of the olive tree in Jaén. This extensive cultivation has its pros and cons. It is sometimes called ‘the largest forest in Europe’, but a monoculture is far from the reality of a forest. But the truth is that it does not require irrigation and that much progress is being made in soil protection techniques. In the past, everything was ploughed and products were used which today are rejected by consumers. Nowadays, organic cultivation is gaining ground and it is common to find fields where grass grows under the olive trees.

In Jaén, 600,000 hectares are dedicated to olive growing, which represents 78% of the province’s entire territory. Enjoying these beautiful landscapes also means tasting the olive oil in Jaén.

mar de olivo en Jaén

Sea of olive trees in Jaén (© Turismo Andaluz).


For millennia the inhabitants of Jaén have worked the land to obtain the prized olive oil from Jaén. Generations and generations of farmers have made this crop the province’s hallmark. To taste olive oil in Jaén is to savour a little piece of history.

The olive tree comes from the adaptation of the wild olive tree, a wild species that grows naturally in Mediterranean climates. This adaptation is attributed to the people who inhabited present-day Syria and Palestine around 2000-3000 B.C. However, in the Iberian Peninsula there is archaeological evidence, at least of the harvesting and consumption of the fruit of the wild olive tree since the Neolithic period. This is the case of El Garcel in Almeria among others.

Already as an ‘olive tree’, i.e. with the species adapted, the Phoenicians are credited with the spread of cultivation throughout practically the whole of the Mediterranean. The different civilisations that inhabited the Peninsula cultivated and consumed olives extensively.

Jaén was for much of the Middle Ages a frontier land. This fact meant that the crops did not spread too much due to war conflicts. It was not until the end of the 15th century, with the unification of the peninsular territory under Christian control, that olive growing began to proliferate in Jaén.

Thus we arrive at the end of the 19th century when the real explosion of olive growing in Jaén began. From this moment on, it began to expand almost without limits until it became the region with the highest oil production in the world.

degustacion de aceite de Jaén

Olive grove of Jaén (© Turismo Andaluz).


The figures are surprising in Jaén. This is where 20% of all the world’s olive oil is produced. It also accounts for 50% of the oil consumed in Spain. With these figures it is not surprising that olive oil from Jaén enjoys an unrivalled international reputation.

But Jaén virgin olive oil is not only known for its quantity, it is also known for its quality. The consumption of olive oil, especially in its raw form, is recommended to raise the levels of good cholesterol (HDL), reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL), help control high blood pressure and prevent diabetes. All this is thanks to oleic and linoleic acids, two of the elements that abound in the variety grown in Jaén. And with this we move on to the fifth and last point of the post.

degustacion de aceite de Jaén

Variety of oils in Jaén (© Turismo Andaluz).


To taste the oil in Jaén, it is no good in any way. Although more than 95% of the olive tree cultivation corresponds to the ‘picual’ variety, it is not always marketed pure, i.e. it is mixed with other varieties. This Spanish variety has a high content of oleic acid and natural antioxidants, which we mentioned in the previous section.

In our opinion, the best tasting olive oil is that of the picual variety without blends. The organoleptic characteristics are truly special. In its flavour we can perceive fruity and ripe tomato nuances; but above all it has a slight bitterness and final spiciness which are the hallmarks of virgin olive oil of the picual variety.

Oil tasting in Jaén

Oil tasting in Jaén (© Turismo Andaluz).

Now that you know why you should taste olive oil in Jaén…

All that remains is for you to get to know first-hand the crops, the landscapes, the oil mills and the people who make olive oil an indispensable product in our gastronomy.

Y para no perderte nuestras experiencias 360