This Is The Smelliest Cheese In The World

Aside from durian fruit, you might be hard-pressed to find a food that makes more noses blow a gasket than stinky cheese. Per a 2017 study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, university researchers surveyed over 300 people as to how much disgust they felt when smelling cheddar, Camembert, and Munster, among other cheeses. As summarized by Smithsonian Magazine, survey respondents expressed disgust toward stinky cheeses at three times the rate of other notorious sources of odor such as fish and meat. Functional MRI scans indicated that cheese haters' brains didn't even register stinky cheese as food.

The study won the tongue-in-cheek Ig Nobel Prize for making people think and laugh. But for some residents in Bad Heilbrunn, Germany, pungent cheese was no joke. As BBC News details, a shop that sold more 200 varieties of cheese and aged three tons of it on-site sparked a years-long dispute with neighbors. Among them was Manuela Kragler, who lived above the shop and claimed an overpowering cheese smell came through her electrical sockets and windows. Kragler even posted warning signs with pictures of noses on the shop's windows.

The offending cheese merchant, Wolfgang Hofmann, denied supplying the smell and accused Kragler and other neighbors of hiding cheese behind a fuse box to frame him. Clearly, smelly cheese can make people raise a huge stink, but which cheese rises to the level of being crowned the world's smelliest?

A cheese that will blow your nose away

Obviously, smell is subjective. So assigning a rank to the rankest cheeses would of course depend heavily on whose noses get picked to administer the smell test. The Independent reports that in a 2004 study, Cranfield University researchers picked 19 noses belonging to students and staff to compare 15 of the smelliest cheeses known to man. Furthermore, they identified chemical "fingerprints" using an "electronic nose" that typically detects UTIs and tuberculosis.

The lineup included such heavy hitters as British Cheddar, Camembert, Munster, and the infamous Epoisses de Bourgogne, which France supposedly banned people from eating on public transportation. The top spot went to Vieux Boulogne, a cow cheese that's aged for 7 to 9 weeks and washed in beer. Described as a "sheep in wolf's clothing," its rind is responsible for the potent aroma and belies a milder flavor suitable for crusty bread. In 2018, France Today honored that dubious victory, congratulating Vieux Boulogne for being the uncontested champ of nose-chafing for 14 years and running.