The Blue Jay
Deer Creek The Blue Jay is a juniper berry infused quintuple crème blue cheese. At first blush, quintuple cheese reminds me of the scene in the movie This is Spinal Tap where Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) points out that on his amps "...the numbers all go to 11..." and are therefore 1 louder than normal amps. There is some basis, in reality for at least double-crème and triple-crème. By French law, double-crème cheeses must have at 60 to 75% butterfat by dry weight material. The cheeses in this category are typically semi-soft, creamy cheeses such as Camembert with a moisture content of 50% so if the dry material (non-moisture) of a double-crème cheese contains 75% butterfat by weight, the total cheese will contain about 39% butterfat. Triple-crème cheese, by French law, must contain over 75% butterfat in the dry matter and any cheese with more than 75% is a triple-crème cheese so quintuple-crème cheese is a little like having an amp that goes all the way up to 11 - but it is dam good cheese. The cheese has cream added to it so it probably has lactose.
The Blue Jay is wrapped in cranberry red foil and has no rind. The Blue Jay brings the blue cheese tang and a bit of the funk to the table - pungent whiffs of old socks - tempered by butter, mushroom and juniper berry. It has a sticky, slightly mottled, semi-soft cream to pale yellow paste with blue green veins and spots of juniper berries. The cheese is tangy, creamy rich and dissolves in your mouth with a brief graininess and the tang and juniper are evenly matched. It is buttery, mushroomy, and decadent and the first bite, as it melts in your mouth convinces you that this is a good idea. I have paired it with Duluth Brewhouse Big Boat Oatmeal Stout, Cornish Orchards Duloe-Cornwall Heritage Cider, Insight Brewing A Visit to My Crazy Aunt, Urban Forage Semisweet Sparkling Cider, Mountain Dragon Mazery West Virginia Wildflower Honey Mead and Nanbu Bijin Tokebetsu Southern Beauty Sake.
The Cornish Orchards Cider starts mildly sweet with rich apple aromas and flavors, some traces of over ripe fruit with a moderate dose of tannins and some tartness coming in on the finish to dry things out. the cider does not get in the way of or mask any of the cheese flavors but the two together bring out each other's fruit notes. On its own the cider is magnificent and classy and the cheese makes it more so. The cider is the more elegant pairing with the carbonation softening the butter flavors while the butter softens some of the cider's tannins. The cider and cheese are something you might enjoy sitting in the garden while watching the bees pollinate your flowers.
The Big Boat Oatmeal Stout has oat, dark roast, light chocolate flavors and a very creamy texture and is a yummy pairing with the cheese. The Stout's chocolate and roast work very well with the cheese and the beer and cheese bring out new fruit flavors in each. The Stout's roast masks some of the cheese's tang and pungency while the cheese's butteryness mellows the roast. This is a decadent pairing that will appeal to lovers of dark bitter chocolate. The oatmeal stout covers some of the Cheese's more subtle notes but chocolate and butter with the juniper suggests an elegant chocolate truffle. The stout and cheese are an after dinner dessert pairing.
The Insight Crazy Aunt has a mild gin and tonic smell and flavor with light biscuit, citrus and juniper. The cheese and the Crazy aunt go off in the same general direction together and both evoke a gin and tonic sandwich of sorts. They both tone each other down a little while at the same time enhancing the pairing. The Crazy Aunt is the more whimsical pairing of the three and the least challenging. The cheese and beer are something you might enjoy in the late afternoon instead of a gin and tonic.