If you look at the page on the Medalist lens that I linked above, that lens is also a Heliar type (5 elements/3 groups--2-1-2) lens. Heliars usually produce fairly smooth out of focus areas, but the sharp portion of the image seems to pop out of the background when it's done right. The strength of the effect depends on the focal length, subject distance, and aperture. I find that I prefer Heliars in the range that is a little longer than the normal focal length for the format, usually around f:8 at portrait distances.