Looking For Moroccan or High Phenol Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

February 1, 2023

I am assuming that you are looking for Moroccan Oil because it is touted as an ideal location for high phenol olive cultivation. The truth is that many locations have rich soil, mild winters, and warm, dry summers. Some top-producing counties are Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Tunisia, and Turkey.

While the country can be significant, there seems to be an overemphasis on “Where” extra virgin olive oil is produced at the expense of the far more significant markers such as “When,” “What,” and “How” the oil is made. The highest quality extra virgin olive oils come from high-quality fruit and first-rate production processes. This can be further boiled down to two variables: freshness and chemistry. These variables can be objectively measured, quantified, and certified. Everything else, in my opinion, is just speculation.


No matter how high the quality of fruit is and what production methods are used, the best olive oils in the world are never as good as when fresh. When quality extra virgin olive oil is fresh, there are more health benefits and positive sensory attributes detectable by the palate.

Extra virgin olive oil is a fresh product and should be consumed as such. A “best buy” date can be misleading and is set by the retailer and bottler. Epicurean Olive Oils recommends you use olive oils within 14 months from the crush/harvest date. However, if it is appropriately handled, sealed, and stored in a cool dark place, olive oil can be ‘good’ for as long as 18-24 months from the date it was harvested. It’s vital to remember olive oil is a perishable food and will go rancid eventually.

Epicurean Olive Oils is committed to providing our customers with the finest, freshest products. For this reason, our ultra-premium extra virgin olive oils* are imported from both hemispheres (Northern and Southern), which produce counter to one another. This allows us to offer some freshest oils throughout the year.


Did you know that there are markers that can tell you about the quality, freshness, and healthful properties of an extra virgin olive oil?

Biophenols: Antioxidants

While there are no standards for what is considered high phenol, all of the ultra -premium extra virgin olive oils at Epicurean Olive Oils are certified to have a minimum of 130 parts per million (ppm) biophenols. The biophenol levels differ every season and depend on many factors, such as the olive variety, climate, and production processes, to name a few. This is why you will see new informational tags every season and for each tank.

The biophenol value not only shows the health benefits (the higher, the better) it will determine the pungency or intensity of the oil. Several important biological properties (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive, and anti-cancer) and the characteristic pungent and bitter tasty properties have been attributed to extra virgin olive oil phenols. There are typically more than 20 different biophenols in extra virgin olive oil.

Oleic Acid: Omega-9’s

This is the monosaturated fat in olive oil that makes it healthful. A higher level is better! It should be more than 55, but more than 65 is ideal (our standard is ≥ 65). Oleic acid is responsible for some of the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, and its high resistance to free radicals helps to slow down the spread of damaging chemical chain reactions. Because of its high degree of resistance to attack by oxygen free radicals, higher levels of oleic acid in olive oil help keep it fresher for longer, preventing the formation of peroxidized (rancid) fats.


Squalene is a natural organic compound that is part of our tissues. It is a polyunsaturated hydrocarbon, and its molecular structure resembles that of vitamin E. However, Squalene contains four additional groups of isoprenoids, which are very potent natural antioxidants. Essentially, it’s one of the many natural lipids your body produces to lubricate and protect your skin.

FFA: Free Fatty Acid Level

The lower, the better! An oil with a low (FFA) will have a higher smoke point than an oil with a higher FFA. The IOC requires that this number be below 0.8 in order for an olive oil to be considered Extra Virgin grade. Our standard is below 0.3.


DAGs are important shelf-life indicators and can be used to determine an oil’s shelf life (or lack thereof) at any time in its lifetime. Fresh olive oil made from sound fruit should result in a DAG content of 85% or higher, whereas the processing of rotten and/or fermented olives will produce fresh oil with low DAGs indicating a very short shelf-life. (Our standard is ≥ 90% within 30 days of crush).

A-Tocopherols: Vitamin E

Also called vitamin E and has antioxidant properties. Alpha-Tocopherols are a nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to stay healthy and work the way it should. It is fat-soluble (can dissolve in fats and oils) and is found in seeds, nuts, leafy green vegetables, and vegetable oils. A-tocopherol boosts the immune system and helps keep blood clots from forming. It also helps prevent cell damage caused by free radicals (highly reactive chemicals). A-tocopherol is being studied to prevent and treat some types of cancer.


This number must be equal to or less than 20. This is the primary measurement of the rancidity of a particular extra virgin olive oil. The peroxide value is affected by procedures used to process and store the oil. Peroxide is responsible for color and aroma changes as the oil oxidizes. Our standard is ≤ 9.

PPP: Pyropheophytin

This is a measure of damaged chlorophyll found inside the oil. This is a good indicator that the olive oil was created under cold circumstances and not refined or damaged during harvest, milling, or storage. Freshly made oil should have a PPP of close to zero. Our standard is ≤ 5.

I know this is a lot of information, but it shows that you don’t really have to guess!

If you really want to know more about extra virgin olive oil and understand why it is important to find a brand you can trust, please read Extra Virginity – The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Thomas Mueller.

*Ultra-premium extra virgin olive oil is a category of olive oil with standards higher than the International Olive Oil Council.  Read more about it here.

Epicurean Olive Oils
97 E Daily Dr
Camarillo, CA 93010
(805) 383-6489

HEALTH DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any disease or illness. We make no representation and assume no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained on or available through this web site, and such information is subject to change without notice. Never make any changes to your medication or diet without first consulting your doctor or other medical professionals.

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