So what is the attraction? There is one theory that states that the attraction in the smell of bacteris on wahed-rind cheeses (Brevibacterium Linens) stems from the fact that this smell is closely related to that generated by bacteria that cause smells emanating from enclosed parts of the human body. Pheromones at play!!!! In other words: this theory suggests that you need to, at least, not mind the smell of old socks to be a washed-rind cheese lover.
Another theory points to the fact that the bacteria B. Linens actually do a lot of other work apart from generating the smell. They interact with milk proteins in the cheese and break these down, thus ripening the cheese. This process also generates the cheese’s particular flavor through the particular build up of the amino acid chains. It is the flavors that make these cheeses so attractive.
Theory three, for what it is worth, the B. Linens help preserve the cheese by protecting the rind from invasions by other bacteria and molds. The monks that introduced this process typically used alcoholic beverages together with herbs to wash the rinds of their cheeses mostly because the local water could not be trusted. The washing with either brine or spirits also has the effect of creating the trademark pinky orange hue on the outside of the cheese. To this day a washed rind cheese will not develop molds unless introduced.