Our Story

Callum owned a deli and an Orkney hamper business in Stromness and Orkney smoked cheddar produced by the local Claymore Creamery was very popular. The creamery became the Orkney Cheese Company Ltd and relocated to a new purpose built premises focusing entirely on producing Orkney cheddar. There was to be no more smoked cheese produced which would be a huge miss in Orkney.

Having seen the popularity of the cheese known locally as ‘pound rounds’, Callum approached the Orkney Cheese Company for the go ahead to produce Orkney smoked cheddar. Intended as a small scale operation to fill a few hampers, Callum started with one small smoker in the back of his shop and melted many a batch of cheese in his efforts to perfect the process.

Once perfected Callum sold the cheese in his own shop and other local outlets but could see the potential for Orkney smoked cheddar on a larger scale. A factory unit was built next to the house and the Island Smokery was born.

Since then, the company has grown to supply outlets across Scotland and North England, and in 2016 delved into the export market. At this point we had outgrown our factory so in 2017 we relocated, allowing us to triple production and explore new markets.

The Process

The cheese is supplied to us in 20kg blocks which we cut to size and load into our custom built smokers.  We use a unique blend of wood shavings supplied by two local craftsmen: Eoin Leonard of Belgarth Bodhrans is a highly skilled manufacturer of Bodhran drums – a celtic drum popular throughout Scotland.   Leo Kerr of Kerr Carpentry creates stunning designer and bespoke furniture also using ash wood as well as other woods. This variety allows us to create our own special blend of smoking material, whilst also utilising what essentially is a waste product of the carpentry business.  We find that the ash wood Eoin and Leo use is a perfect base for our process as it creates a more delicate smoke than oak. Our cheeses are smoked for around 4 hours per smoke.  Our triple or dark smoked cheddar is smoked 3 times so 12 hours in total whereas the single or light smoked is only smoked once.  The increased smoking time changes the texture of the cheese by drying it out, whilst taking on an intense smokey flavour. The single smoked cheese retains the creamy texture of the cheddar, whilst still having that distinctive smokey flavour. Cutting our cheese into portions results in off-cuts which we keep for grating and blending with added ingredients. Currently our range of blended cheddars include Highland Park Whisky, Dark Island Ale, red onion, ploughman's pickle, garlic, sweet chilli, cranberry, Christmas spice, and cracked black pepper all produced in 150g barrels.

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