The aim of this work was to clarify the influence of the properties (firmness and fat content) of a solid processed model cheese on in vivo aroma release while considering the role of the in-mouth process during both mastication and post-swallowing steps, and the hydrophobicity of aroma compounds, on a large number of well characterized subjects. In vivo aroma release was studied on 44 subjects who freely consumed six processed model cheeses flavoured with the same concentration of nonan-2-one and ethyl propanoate. Globally, an increase in firmness induced an increase in chewing duration, amount of saliva incorporated into the food bolus, total amount of aroma released and rate of release. The kinetics of release clearly differed between the two aroma compounds. Ethyl propanoate presented a higher release rate for firmer cheese and was more released during the mastication step, whereas nonan-2-one was more released during the post-swallowing step and more persistent in the mouth, due to its higher hydrophobicity. Consuming cheeses with a higher fat content led to a higher amount of product remaining in the mouth after swallowing, a lower amount of nonan-2-one released and a longer persistence of nonan-2-one in the breath. The results could be helpful to better understand the relative influence of the parameters related to products and subjects in order to reformulate foods with good sensory acceptability. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.