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‘It’s haunting my nostrils’: We tried ‘world’s smelliest cheese’ the Minger

I picked up a 250g packet of the Minger from the fridge at Gourmet Cheese Co in Rosemount. It cost £7.

P&J staff smelling a block of the cheese
Have you tried the Minger yet? All images: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

“Pong on the nose; pure pleasure on the palate” is the description of Highland Fine Cheeses’ Minger on the business’ website.

The cheese – now considered the smelliest in the world – has been covered by the likes of Sky News, The New York Times and The Telegraph in recent weeks.

It caught the attention of some of my Press and Journal colleagues, too.

Rory Stone, the owner of Highland Fine Cheeses in Tain
Rory Stone, the owner of Highland Fine Cheeses in Tain. Image: Supplied by Blueprint Media

I’m not a huge cheese fan. I’ll have it in the odd toastie and on pizza, of course, but the thought of grabbing a few chunks from the fridge and digging in has never crossed my mind.

So when the idea of me trying out the Minger and documenting it was proposed, I trembled. Literally.

‘Just one Minger, please’

It wasn’t just going to be me trying the Highland Fine Cheeses product, but several of us in our Marischal Square office. At least I wasn’t in it alone.

After some searching, I found that Rosemount cheese shop Gourmet Cheese Co had the Minger in stock. I made a swift visit on the morning of our taste test, before heading to the office to rally up some troops.

A variety of cheeses available at Gourmet Cheese Co
A wide variety of cheeses, charcuterie products and more are available at Gourmet Cheese Co. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

The shop must be a cheese lover’s paradise, and I’d say there’s upwards of 100 cheeses to choose from inside.

I picked up a 250g packet of Minger from the fridge for £7.

Tell me more about the cheese by Highland Fine Cheeses

The Minger is just one product among the Highland Fine Cheese range.

According to the business’ website, the description reads: “Orange annatto washed rind with a deliciously oozy, creamy paste, mildly nutty and lemony, hinting at flavours of the farmyard but becoming decadently pungent and runny when ripe.”

The Minger cheese in it's packaging
The Minger in its packaging.

It went on to say: “A Minger should ming – in a good way!

What did my P&J colleagues and I make of the product’s smell?

Karla surrounded by colleagues while cutting into the cheese
Preparing to dig in…

The package did conceal the Minger’s scent for the most part, but not all of it.

I wrapped it up in a bag before getting out of my car and walking to the office – to avoid getting any strange looks from Christmas Village goers.

A block of Minger cheese on a plate
How the cheese looks before being cut into.

On arrival, I spied photographer Kenny, who was equally as delighted as I was to be getting up close and personal with the product.

Sense the sarcasm?

After asking around, our testers included Kieran Beattie, Alex Watson, Andy Morton, Denny Andonova and myself.

The packaging was removed and I can’t lie, there was little to no smell initially. We all agreed.

However, I should mention that it had only been out of the shop’s fridge for around 30 minutes. Perhaps if it had been kept at room temperature for longer the outcome would have been very different.

Now, the consistency and taste… ‘notes of rotting flesh’

Kieran had already made me aware that the Minger has a “gloopy” texture, so I expected it to be a little difficult to cut.

It wasn’t that bad but, again, this would have been down to the cheese still being on the cool side.

Andy was first up. It was at this point that the smell began to worsen.

P&J reporter sniffing a small portion
Andy said the smell had “notes of rotting flesh.”
A close up of it being cut
Inside the cheese.

“The smell is just a bit disgusting, with notes of rotting flesh,” he said.

But praise came once he tried it.

Andy added: “It’s really creamy, like brie. The smell initially almost turned my stomach but I don’t know if that was the shock. It was a lovely, smooth, creamy mouthful.”

Denny, on the other hand, found it more wet than creamy. She was the only person to go back for more.

P&J reporter Denny sniffing a portion of cheese on a fork
Denny wasn’t convinced to begin with.
P&J reporter making a face at the smell
She did, however, go back for more.

“It’s creeping off like crème brûlée – that smells like sweaty socks,” she said.

“I wouldn’t say it’s creamy, it’s like a liquidy version of brie but less salty.”

Kieran’s reaction had us all in fits of laughter, kicking off his verdict with: “The smell stays with you. It’s haunting my nostrils. I can’t get rid of it.

“It tastes great. Really salty like camembert. I would get it again, but I don’t know how much I could have.”

P&J reporter Kieran smelling a section the cheese on a spoon
I started to think the smell would be too much for Kieran to handle…
Kieran flinching back the smell
After giving it a try, he said he’d buy it again!

Our digital features head went on to say: “I feel like I want to put mouthwash up my nose.”


Alex and I didn’t find the smell all too bad, surprisingly  – given that smelly cheese can send me sideways.

She too thought it was similar to brie, but more creamy.

P&J reporter Alex, smelling a portion on a spoon
Alex says the product is like a creamy brie.
P&J reporter Karla with the plate of cheese in her hand and a fork in the other
The smell isn’t as bad as you’d expect, but it isn’t great.

I definitely got hints of nuttiness and zest, but it was far too heavy for me.

Thinking I’d be hated on after leaving the Minger in the office fridge after our taste test (in layers of napkins and bags, might I add), it turns out that my colleagues loved it.

The cheese was demolished at the office Christmas party that same afternoon/evening. I just wish I’d brought some crackers along too.