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This morning, we received our first shipment of the new Alpha Tolman.

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Jasper Hill has been slowly developing their Alpine-style cheese Alpha Tolman for the last year and a half.  Besides a small release late last year, they have largely kept this cheese off the market as they waited to see how recipe tweaks affected this long-aged cheese and refined their approach accordingly.  At long last, they have built up their age profile and sufficient inventory to accommodate a wider release!

We’ve been sampling Alpha from time to time to stay abreast of its development.  We received a few pieces last week and are excited by what we have seen.  Here are a few of our evaluations:

– hints of fruit and smokey-ness.  Great mouth feel that lingers.  Alpine style, but stops short of that over-powering Swiss feel.  Brighter, hints of onion too.  

– Lots of nuttiness, a little sweet, pleasant alpine cheese with a medium depth.

– starts out with briny and meaty notes (like gruyere), then sweet and nutty (like Comte), then ends up a little sulfur washed rind (like Abondance). 

–  smooth, mild, buttery, slightly sour finish though not offensive. Notes of sweet cream and toasted hazelnuts.  Could use just a little more depth of flavor

While this cheese has come a long way in the last year and a half of development, we expect it to continue to grow into its own.  The team at Jasper Hill envisions Alpha becoming a cornerstone for them opposite of Cabot Clothbound.  Right now, they have completely filled Vault 2 in the Cellars with Alpha Tolman.  With Vault 2 now full, Alpha Tolman has pushed the Cellars to full vault capacity.  In many ways, Alpha Tolman represents the culmination of an ambitious dream Jasper Hill undertook five years ago when they built The Cellars.  Besides symbolizing the summit of Jasper Hill’s bold undertaking, Alpha Tolman is critically important to the future of Jasper Hill.  With between 60-70,000# of Alpha currently aging in Vault 2, Jasper Hill’s success is now tied closely with the success of this cheese.  And based on where the cheese is at right now, we are excited to start down this new path with them. 

Our inventory is VERY LIMITED at the moment as Jasper Hill is only releasing small amounts as they hone in on the proper age profile.  As the months go by, availability will open up more widely.  The development of Alpha Tolman is a major shift for Jasper Hill and is the most fundamentally important development that this still-young company has made in the last few years to ensure its future success.  For those of you who are as excited as we are to see the newest offering from one of our most dynamic cheesemaking partners, let us know and we will secure you a wheel from our limited supplies. 

Just based on the success of just about everything Jasper Hill has done up until this point, I think in a few years we will all look back and think “I remembered when it all started…”  ©