Photo: nikoretro, Flickr
Never judge a cheese solely on its smell? An in-depth breakdown of Strathdon Blue's flavor profile reveals a series of gustatory impressions, ranging from earthy and spicy to rich and sweet. Blues are often misconceived as pungent, and even putrid. However, slowly savoring a bite of Strathdon Blue, from cheesemaker Ruaraidh (pronounced "Rory") Stone in the region of Tain in Northern Scotland, we discovered a mild peppery taste with a lusciously creamy texture.
The multi-layered tastes of this Scottish blue – the hint of nuts and fruity tang – do not overwhelm the palate. The flavors become palatable in succession creating a gradual buildup of layers deliciously melding into one another. It's this blend of aromas and tastes that makes Strathdon Blue challenging to classify, but at the same time, easily distinguishable and unquestionably appetizing.
To top off the cheese's various flavors, its rich thick milky consistency make it taste as though it were a flavored cream used in a dessert. Aged for only two months, Strathdon Blue is a young, delicate blue cheese produced from milk that comes from a local dairy with Ayrshire cows (a traditional Scottish dairy breed). Its creamy texture should come as no surprise since Ayrshires are renowned for their rich milk. Strathdon Blue would appeal to even non-blue cheese fans. Between its milky consistency and savory taste, this artisanal blue can be accessible to different palates.
And, within the category of blue cheeses, Strathdon Blue can be grouped with Stilton, and yet, at the same time with French blues, like Fourme d'Ambert and Bleu d'Auvergne. Like, the British staple, otherwise known as Stilton, Strathdon Blue has an earthier taste than some blues, such as Rogue River Blue and Roquefort. Nevertheless, the more buttery texture, mild flavor and dark grey-brown rind are unlike Stilton and, instead, reminiscent of French cow's milk blues from the Auvergne region. This can be attributed to the simple fact that Strathdon Blue is modeled after them, and, like them, is aged in aerated, humid cellars for a couple of months. In fact, this Scottish take on Bleu d'Auvergne is aged in a once-converted brewery, right by the sea.
Strathdon Blue is a welcome addition to the increasing list of blue cheeses available stateside, and it's also the first Scottish cheese we've tasted at Slashfood. We look forward to placing it on a cheeseboard soon.