Bold D’Ussé Cognac Not Just a Beginner's Brandy
Posted: March 22, 2013
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D’ussé (80 proof, or 40 percent alcohol by volume, $44.99 for a 750 ml bottle)
APPEARANCE: It’s dark amber, coppery color is quite forceful. The legs start out thin as they hang pendulously to glass, then clot together and roll down in fat chunks.
NOSE: An inviting, toasty aroma of caramel, maple and toffee. Fruit comes in the form of sweet oranges and lemons. The toasted aspects verges on pumpkin pie.
PALATE: A remarkable change occurs initially from the nose to the palate. The formerly mellow notes become bold, effervescent and spicy. Minty, eucalyptus sensations fairly blow through the roof of the mouth. Then calmness occurs, and the sweet and hearty flavors of the nose regain dominance, with some honey, cinnamon, maple and woodiness.
FINISH: As it finishes, the sassy, spicy notes of the palate seem to disappear, leaving only the sweet and mellow. At the very last, the Cognac snaps shut with a tart hard-candy flavor.
NOTE: Big and bold, this is perfect for mixing (we found nirvana by muddling cucumbers and basil in lemon juice and D’Ussé and shaking with ice and straining). Taken without added flavors, it cries out for some (but not too much) water. Siphon up H2O with a straw and add it in dribs and drabs until you get it right.
CIGAR PAIRING: J. Fuego Edicion Familia 2012 Toro (6 1/2 inches by 54 ring, $10, 88 points, Feb. 26 Cigar Insider)
A distinct walnut sweetness comes on strong, but dissipates, ushering in faint coffee notes. Tasty, but could use more body. The D'Usse handily delivers the formerly delinquent body to the cigar, showcasing its nutty qualities and accentuating the coffee and some hidden spiciness. The Cognac smooths out considerably under the influence of the J. Fuego, with its woody character coming to the fore.
Añoranzas Gran Toro (6 inches by 60 ring, $8.50, 89 points, Feb. 26 Cigar Insider)
A massive, thick smoke, this toro is toasty and pleasant with occasional snaps of pepper. The finish is a bit dry, but imparts notes of almond flavor. Any dryness on the cigar quickly disappears when taken with the D'Usse, which takes its pepper notes into another realm of more complex spiciness. The sweetness and fruitiness of the Cognac's nose becomes much more appreciable with the cigar as a graham cracker luster suffuses it.
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Float Dub — March 23, 2013 12:04pm ET
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