Old Winchester

Old Winchester is one of the most regal-looking cheeses out there, with an enchanting amber colour just underneath the rind which traverses into a lighter royal honey. With 18 months of ageing, this hard cheese dazzles the tongue with layered flavour and a moreish crunch. Bejewelled with white tyrosine crystals that indicate a well-aged wise cheese, Old Winchester is not only an excellent cheese for your boards but a fantastic British Parmesan alternative that is vegetarian-friendly.

This Italian-inspired hard cheese has a bite to it and a frequent crunch that fires up that well-sought-after itch at the sides of your mouth. Beginning with a familiar cheddar tang, Old Winchester rolls into complex caramel butterscotch sweetness alongside smoky hits, whilst the base tang continues to beat throughout the journey. That journey is satisfyingly long, slowly transcending into a deep savoury broth.

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  • MILK


Friesian Cow

Friesians are a breed of dairy cattle that originated in the Dutch provinces of North Holland and Friesland, and Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany. They are known as the world's highest-producing dairy animals.



The process of pasteurisation involves heating milk to 71.7°C for at least 15 seconds (and no more than 25 seconds). Because of the nature of the heat treatment it sometimes referred to as the ‘High Temperature Short Time’ (HTST) process. Once the milk has been heated, it is then cooled very quickly to less than 3°C. The equipment which is used to heat and cool the milk is called a ‘heat exchanger’


Suitable for vegetarians

Vegetarian rennets are either vegetable-based (made from plants such as figs, nettles and thistles), microbial (produced using moulds and fungi sources) or made using genetically modified rennet.


"Old Winchester is already a well-aged cheese, so we'll just be helping Old Winchester on its journey. Turning once a week and brushing any flora that has settled on the rind. We’ll be keeping it at a moderate humidity and decent temperature."

- Perry James Wakeman, Rennet and Rind’s resident affineur

The New Forest, Lyburn Farm, Salisbury, British Isles 

The New Forest has no great history of cheese making, unlike the West Country, but varieties like Old Winchester show promise in the location. Historically records show that cheese was made by the Cistercian Monks at Beaulieu and other monasteries back in the 1200s. But in the last 100 years, the milk from Hampshire has traditionally travelled eastwards to the large conurbations of Southampton and London to be sold as bottled milk. 

The manors of Winchester, from which Old Winchester was named, indicate that cheese was made locally but not in large commercial quantities. For the valley of the Blackwater and Lyburn Farm, cheesemaking is a relatively new venture set up to address the needs of a changing marketplace.

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The Lyburn Team

Mike Smales may be the maker of Old Winchester, but his Lyburn Farm is a collaborative effort. Jono, his eldest son, manages the farm's more hands-on tasks (“the muddy boots bit”, as Mike puts it), while his partner Judy oversees the administrative duties in the farm office.

Elsewhere, a passionate person is heading up each stage of the cheesemaking process. Phil, the farm’s herdsman, is responsible for producing wholesome milk, and his considerable time spent working at the farm means that he knows each cow as an individual. His process produces an annual yield of about 1.3 million litres of milk, half of which is transformed into cheese. James employs his expertise as a cheesemaker to convert the milk into curds and, over a period ranging from 10 weeks to 18 months, into cheese. Following this, Andy, Steve, and Amy take charge of the cheese's maturation, packing, and distribution.




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