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Bold D’Ussé Cognac Not Just a Beginner's Brandy

Jack Bettridge
Posted: March 22, 2013

D’Ussé Cognac has just become a lot more accessible to drinkers seeking a bold, new brandy experience.

Bacardi USA’s first foray into the category has recently expanded its reach into several new markets including Los Angeles, Houston, New Jersey, Connecticut, Chicago, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Miami, after first launching in New York and Washington last summer.

Meant to shake up a spirits class that, according to Bacardi USA CEO Robert Furniss-Roe, has grown “a bit dusty,” D’Ussé, with its full-frontal profile, is aimed at both experienced Cognac enthusiasts and those new to the category. Vice president brand managing director Giles Woodyer has said that the brandy has had an incredible response since it rolled out last year.

One notable convert is rapper and music producer Jay-Z, who hosted a launch party and then drank D’Ussé at the Grammy Awards in February from the trophy he won.

While some pundits have used the old fallback descriptor “smooth” to characterize D’Ussé in comparison with typical Cognacs, our tasting showed that while it may lack bite, it has a bold presence that makes it much more than a beginner’s brandy. The point seems to be a brandy that can be used for sipping and drinking on the rock as well as in a cocktail. In the latter consideration, D’Ussé brings plenty of the flavor needed to stand up to mixers.

Even as this VSOP (at least four years old) is not as complex as the Cognacs rated XO (at least six years) and above that we usually suggest for pairings, it proved a formidable partner with a cigar. (Furniss-Roe said that XO and VS [two years or more] variants could eventually follow the VSOP).

Pronounced “dew-say,” it is made by Chateau de Cognac, a venerable house founded in 1795. Located near the Charente River, its aging cellars are known for their dampness and a constant temperature of 59° F. The company also makes Otard Cognac, which is not distributed in the United States.

Featuring the Cross Lorraine, the packaging is also a distinct departure for the generally staid category. Those of us who do not have Grammy trophies in which to decant may appreciate owning vessel that looks like it would be at home on TV’s “Game of Thrones.”

(Tasting notes and cigar pairings on next page)

 


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Comments   1 comment(s)

Float Dub March 23, 2013 12:04pm ET

"smooth" is probably the most useless word one can use to describe a spirit or cigar, yet is the word so many people use.


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