The present work evaluated the ability of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy in predicting some sensory attributes of 20 Emmental cheeses originating from different European regions. For the purpose of this study four appearance and texture attributes, namely, adhesivity, friability.. elasticity and firmness and six olfacto-gustatory attributes namely, aroma intensity, odour intensity, bitterness, saltiness, acidity and sweetness were selected by the sensory panel. Calibration models between sensory properties and NIR spectra were developed using partial least squares (PLS) regression. The squared correlation coefficients (R-2) were greater than 0.5 for adhesivity, elasticity, firmness. aroma. bitterness, saltiness, acidity and sweetness. In addition, a good correlation between sensory attributes and NIR spectra was found using canonical correlation analysis (CCA). Therefore, this work demonstrates the feasibility of NIR to predict some sensory attributes since a relatively high correlation between sensory data and NIR spectra was found. However, further research with a large data bases will be needed in order to validate the method. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.