I recently posted about my trial smoking of some inexpensive cheese here. Today (March 11th) I finally opened one, and it tastes "close but no cigar" to the smoked Gouda I sometimes buy at the grocery store, only it was a lot cheaper!
Actually it wasn't bad but there is a slightly bitter aftertaste, which makes me think the time in the smoker could have been reduced from the 2½ hours to perhaps just an hour, or maybe 1½ hours. I'll have to experiment more. The aftertaste is almost as noticeable in the very center of the thin wheel as the outside edges, so the smoke flavor did indeed migrate throughout fully while in the VacPak in the refrigerator over the 10 days it was sealed.
Update: there was just a post on a smoking forum I visit, questioning low temps for cold smoking... the poster said: "I have read somewhere that there is a minimum temperature for cold smoking because it causes some undesirable elements of the complex mixture of smoke compounds to condense on the meat surface. I believe that one of the undesirable elements is creosote, which causes bitterness in the final product. "
If I remember correctly, it was cold outside (around 40ºF or so) on the porch when I smoked the cheese, and not more than 3-4º higher in the smoker. So the low temp could be as much a problem as the length of exposure to the smoke. Either way, it still needs more experimentation...
Update 3/22: A cheesemaker I know makes and sells a mesquite-smoked cheese. He says he generally cold smokes for about an hour, depending on the size of the cheese wheel (his are several pounds each). So clearly my 2½ hours was far too long for the tiny wheel slices I had!
From those 2 update comments, I really am encouraged to cold smoke cheese again!