“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.
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.
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.”
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?
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.
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?
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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.