The royal olive variety is typical of the Sierra de Cazorla region, although some examples of this type of olive tree can also be found in the Las Villas and Sierra de Segura region. It is in the municipalities of La Iruela, Cazorla and Quesada where the largest number of specimens of this type of olive tree is found, mainly in the mountain areas where the olive grove has traditionally been cultivated under dry conditions.
It is a very rustic tree that can easily resist drought conditions in the chalky soils in which it is grown. One of the main characteristics of this tree variety is the high resistance to the detachment of its olives, which has traditionally made its harvesting after that of the picual olive trees, which occupy most of the olive groves in the region. The great resistance to olive detachment and the late harvesting, make the tree’s true character even more accentuated. Not only this, but the royal variety has lower olive and oil productions compared to the picual variety. Because of this, a few decades ago, royal olive trees were uprooted and picuals were planted instead. However, this trend has been stopped and reversed in recent years due to the special organoleptic characteristics royal tree olive oil contains.
Currently, the royal variety is collected at the beginning of the harvest season, to obtain green oils, even though it was traditionally at the end of it, during the months of February and March. Oils with intense green fruity flavour are obtained, in which the aromas of green almond, herb and apple dominate, with very low bitterness intensities and spicy values that vary from one year to another. It is very different in the organoleptic profile to picual extra virgin olive oils, in which the bitterness is very intense. It is for this reason that royal oil has been ascended in the market and has encouraged farmers, not only to stop uprooting them, but to establish plantations of this olive tree.