Oh, my cheese padawan learners, the funk is strong with this one. Red Hawk, one of Cowgirl Creamery‘s signature aged, organic cow’s-milk cheeses, is not for the funk-phobic. Though it shares the gooey consistency of its sister triple-cream cheese, Mt. Tam, Red Hawk’s earthy aroma is what you’ll remember.

A washed-rind cheese, Red Hawk gets its name from its reddish-orange exterior. My piece was sprinkled with small white particles, almost like yeast, and the yellow paste was dotted with small holes. The taste was pleasing enough, but the smell was overpowering even for this stinky-cheese lover. I felt I had to cleanse my palate with a few plain crackers after tasting so my breath wouldn’t kill my cat.

I can’t say I’d ever turn down a piece of Red Hawk, but my preference lies with Mt. Tam. But if you’re feeling adventurous, buy a round (or a half – your cheesemonger will gladly cut it for you) and pair it with a sweet dessert wine.  Just make sure your date tastes it, too, or you won’t be getting a good-night kiss.