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I bought some Napa Valley Naturals organic extra virgin olive oil (not actually from Napa Valley -- it's from Spain). We're used to buying this brand, and in fact usually buy 9L at a time. But this box... well, the best I can describe is that it smells and tastes like it has been infused with chipotle peppers!

So, my question: What could cause this? How can I tell? Possibilities I've considered so far:

  • It's an olive oil defect, but it's not a common one
  • Wherever it was packed, there was contamination from chipotle-infused oil
  • It's some other contaminant, and I shouldn't even be eating it
  • This is legit olive oil, but a different variety or whatever

It's not bad, but it's not what I want -- I'm used to this brand being moderately good quality. I'll be calling them and inquiring about any recalls, whether there was something different about the lot, etc., but I also want information from an impartial source.

(Also interested in whether there are independent testing labs I could send a sample to without too much trouble/expense. I'm in the Boston area, for reference.)

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  • Is there any discoloration? (i.e. the oil seems to have a different color than yellow or greenish yellow) Jun 25 at 7:08
  • FWIW, Napa Valley Naturals does not make any type of chili-infused oil, so it's unclear on where any chili could have come from. How MUCH does it taste like chilies? Why chipotles in particular, is there a smoky flavor as well?
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 25 at 20:40
  • It's the usual yellowish color, although sometimes I think it has been greener. Chipotles because of that particular smoky smell they have, although not actually hot. It's enough that when I heat it up in the pan, I smell the chili smell from across the room, rather than the olive oil smell. It's in the flavor as well -- there might be some "green" flavor under it, but it's mostly this mild chipotle flavor. No real pepperiness, but that's I think usual for this brand. Jun 25 at 23:08
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    Wait ... is the smell/flavor just smokiness, or does it also have fruity and spicy notes? Because if it's just smokiness, then I can think of a number of ways the oil could end up like that.
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 26 at 1:58

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