When we first started eating "smoked" cheese we would call the smoked Gouda "hotdog cheese" because it both looks and tastes like a hotdog.
I'm not sure what is about Gouda but the smoking process really gives it a meaty flavor. It's not that way with other smoked cheeses. But definitely stick to what you like. Search for the Beemster XO. It's a beautiful orange color, aged 3 years out of holland.
So the smoked cheese gets its flavor from smoke. That could be done with actual smoke, and may well be the same equipment used to smoke Ham and Bacon. Although often now liquid smoke is just mixed into the cheese.
Liquid smoke is a substance produced from smoke passed through a tube from a combustion chamber filled with select wood chips to a condenser. In the condenser, the smoke cools and forms a liquid, aided by the addition of water. Liquid smoke is used for both food preservation and flavoring.
The European Food Safety Authority has found that some liquid smoke products contain In Vitro but not In Vivo carcinogenic genotoxic compounds.
Liquid smoke itself isn't necessarily bad but it's like oak chips in a steel vat for aging wine…it's a much faster process resulting in a flavor way too strong.
Aged cheeses get their flavour from enzyme action on fat and protein. Over time enzymes from the bacteria chop the protein up into smaller tastier pieces. You will see changes in texture as well as taste as a cheese ages. Takes ages though, and all that time cheese has to be stored somewhere, so is usually more expensive.
Some products, like cheese flavoured chips contain "enzyme modified cheese", which is basically young cheese that has been powdered and exposed to enzymes that chop up the proteins to give an intense "cheesey" flavor.
Much cheaper than the real deal.