Cheese Strains: Whats Behind The Smell?

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Cheese Strains: Whats Behind The Smell?

From birth to death flavours and aromas play a major part in our lives. Cheese. The strain where if your carbon air filtering system fails your house smells like you are living inside an old sock through which rotting meat, forest berries and turpentine have been strained.


Cheese. That infamous skunk freak from the early nineties. That needle in a haystack random pheno that took a step sideways in evolution to produce something extraordinary. Cheese and its theatre of hybrids is still one of the most in demand cannabis strains in the United Kingdom and Europe. The strain where if your carbon air filtering system fails your house smells like you are living inside an old sock through which rotting meat, forest berries and turpentine have been strained. The reason for the outstanding bouquet and lingering aftertaste are the combination of terpenes in the resins of the plant. Terpenes, terpenoids and flavinoids are sensed by several mechanisms in the mouth and the olfactory bulbs in the brain. Different combinations of this family of volatile esters produce what humans perceive as the smell and the taste of things. Depending in what quantities these terpenes are mixed, the distinctive cheesiness can go from a mild aged creamy Cheddar to a full-blown Rottapalooza. With all the Cheese strains the mouth waters. One try is followed by a primal desire for more.



The umami effect of Cheese is unique in the cannabis kingdom, but is not unique in the plant or animal kingdom. Durians for example are a foul smelling fruit. The aroma is so foul that it is banned on the Singapore mass transit system. The flavour though is beyond heavenly. As is the attraction with umami type foods they leave a flavour on the palate that is wondrously creamy, maybe honey and berries or even smooth macadamia. The renowned Indonesian coffee Kopi Luwak is imbued with its eccentric flavour as it passes the anal glands of Civet cats to which raw coffee beans have been fed. Other animal musks desired by humans as flavourings and for use in perfumery include Castoreum from the perineal glands of beavers and musk from the antlers of musk deer. These powerfully smelling substances are diluted to make vanilla and raspberry flavours in sweets and attractive smells in perfumes and eau de toilette's. Because of their particular genetics, some people can't detect this smell at all!





No solitary element is responsible for the smell of the Cheese strain, but the subtle combination of many. Included are terpenes such as octanoic acid, which has an unpleasant oily and rancid smell, methyl tert-butyl ether, which has a fruity smell similar to pineapple, ethyl methyl acetic acid, which has a sweet smell similar to pear drops, hexanoic acid, which smells like animals or a barnyard and methyl mercaptan, which smells like rotten cabbage or animal feces. Isovaleric acid is the most prevalent terpene in the Cheese strain. Elsewhere it is produced by the Staphyllococcus epidermidis bacteria when it breaks down proteins in sweat. It is partially responsible for the smell in locker rooms or unwashed linen. It is the active anti-convulsive and soporific constituent of valerian root and is one of the esters that give wine its taste and aged cheese that distinctive smell. The volatile esters of isovaleric acid have pleasing, lingering smells that have similar effects to pheromones so it is often used as an aromatic both industrially in solvents and domestically in perfumery.


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