We use the smell in two ways:

Firstly, when capturing the primary smell of the cheese both in the rind, before opening it, and when we cut it. The smell and its intensity can be perceived when you put the cheese to your nose. This intensity can be low as in fresh or soft cow´s cheeses, or very high in blue cheeses. The primary smells of the cheese mainly come from the external treatment of the rind, and also from the type of milk and the processing system used.
Secondly, when we put a sample of cheese into our mouth, via the retronasal route. The aroma is defined as a combination of sensations which can be detected via the retronasal route or indirectly during tasting. To capture the aroma you must chew the cheese for several seconds whilst continuing to breathe, and the air is then expelled through the nose in bursts with their intensity which can be weak in soft and medium-cured pasteurised cheeses and high in raw milk cheeses. The intensity of the smell falls into three categories: weak, moderate and strong.

Some of the possible smells and aromas are: lactic, vegetable, floral, fruity, roasts, spices, animal and other aggressive smells: rancid, sour, sulphuric, spicy, mouldy, ammoniacal…