This silky, pungent beauty is the Saint Sauveur, a washed-rind sheep’s milk cheese from Fromagerie d'Irati in the Vallee d’Ossau in the Pyrenees, Basque region, and affinaged by Mons Affineurs. This wheel is right at point and creeping towards overripe, as evidenced by the glossy, custardy paste oozing out of the rind and puddling on the slate. The rosy rind is sticky to the touch and aromas are barnyardy and pungent. Flavors are assertive, brothy, nutty and wet hay with lanolin and boiled brassica notes. One Murray’s Instagrammer even picked up notes of “Reeses Peanut Butter Cups”!
Washed-rind sheep’s milk cheeses are a class of their own and can develop quite a wallop (aka get super-stinky, for example in the raw-milk, Corsican A Filetta I had in Switzerland a few years ago, about which I quipped that “smelling it up close was like napalming your nostrils”), but this pasteurized-milk wheel hints in that direction without going fully into kicked-in-face-by-sheep territory.
This special cheese came to them by accident in a shipment from France; it’s currently in the cheese case at Murray’s Cheese but probably won’t be there long.