The smell of Cheese

But first, what makes cheese so smelly, anyway?

“A cheese’s smell directly correlates to what molds or bacteria are used to age the cheese and form the rind,” says Bayne. The mold works in tandem with yeast, especially in washed-rind cheese, which get a massage with water and liquor, making them extra stinky on the outside, while the softer inside (i.e., the stuff you actually eat) stays much more mild.

Basically, that sounds gross, but trust your instincts, not your nose: “Stinky cheeses should smell sort of like your feet — bacterial similarity, no joke — but they shouldn’t smell like a heap of rotting trash,”