The optional smoking takes place at the end of the aging process, using woods from the beech-tree, birch-tree, cherry tree or white pine. The intensity of the smoked qualities depends upon the type of wood and length of smoking. The rinds of artisan cheeses may be engraved with drawings or symbols characteristic of the Basque culture. The rind is closed, smoked, waxy, without mold. The unsmoked cheeses have a yellow-beige color, while smoked cheeses are brownish.
The interior is compact, without air pockets or with only pin-head size holes, and is beige or pale yellow in color. The interior of the smoked cheeses has a brownish border. The taste is strong and pronounced, slightly acidic and piquant, buttery and consistent, with a characteristic sheep milk flavor. The smoked version is somewhat drier and stronger, with a pleasant aroma. Enthusiastically recommend as one of Spain's great cheeses it compliments Rioja Alta, Penedes, young Cabernet, or you can also try it with beer.