Winner of the world's smelliest cheese is not to be sniffed at
Vieux Boulogne, a soft cheese from France, beat 14 other whiffy varieties in tests, including one so smelly it is reputedly banned on some public transport networks.
Experts at Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, used an "electronic nose" to analyse the odours of the cheeses. A panel of human testers were also asked to give their views.
Vieux Boulogne comes from Boulogne sur Mer in northern France. Aged for between seven and nine weeks, its rind is brushed with beer and it is the reaction of the beer with enzymes in the cheese that creates the pungent smell.
Among the cheeses it beat was Epoisses de Bourgogne, a cheese that is banned from public transport in its native France and which went on sale in the UK last year.
English Cheddar aged between six and 24 months was one of the least smelly cheeses tested, along with Parmesan.
Dr Stephen White, a senior research officer at the university, said: "The smelliest were washed rind cheeses. There was no obvious correlation between the age of the cheeses and smelliness, nor type of milk origin, although cows’ milk cheeses did dominate the smell chart."
The square-shaped cheese is about 10cm wide and 4cm deep, and costs about 10.99 per kilo.
Patricia Michelson, owner of La Fromagerie, the only company in the UK to sell Vieux Boulogne, said the cheese was "surprisingly mellow" and went well with bread and beer.
"It’s a great cheese to try as it doesn’t have the earthy, farmyardy flavours that some people find overpowering," she added.
The experiment was commissioned by Fine Cheeses from France, a body which promotes French cheese in the UK.