D’Usse VSOP is a distinct and versatile cognac that works well as both a sipper or a mixer. Its soft and unchallenging flavors of figs, caramel, and honey lead to a gentle yet alcoholic kick on the finish.
Classification: VSOP cognac
Distillery: Château de Cognac, Cognac, France
Cask type: French oak
Still type copper pot (alembic Charentais)
Aged: At least 4 1/2 years
- Its bottle, one of the prettiest and most distinctive bottles of any cognac, is instantly recognizable from its “Cross of Lorraine” emblem.
- Versatile, performing well both as a sipper and a mixer
- It’s a tad soft and unchallenging, which may turn off brandy fans looking for something a bit more bold and exciting.
Color: Bright copper, with a golden-orange hue. Most cognacs employ caramel coloring; if that’s the case here, it’s used quite tastefully.
Nose: Dried fruit, especially fig, is the star of the show, with caramel, honey, and just a hint of wood polish among the secondary aromas.
Palate: Mellow dried fig and date notes, followed by a very rounded sweetness, somewhat reminiscent of a port. Dries out somewhat towards the finish, with a woody spice making its presence felt. Quite velvety on the tongue; this is a cognac that caresses the taste buds.
Finish: A gentle alcoholic kick on the swallow, with a pleasant medium-long afterglow of dried fruit and oak
D’Ussé is best known for its distinctive squat bottle, which features the Cross Of Lorraine, a French symbol which stands for honor, courage, and perseverance. It’s also on the radar thanks to the brand’s cofounder, Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z. But even though it’s only been around since 2012, the provenance of the cognac goes back a lot further. It’s matured in part at the Chåteau de Cognac, one of the oldest houses in the region, and blending is overseen by longtime cellar master Michel Casavecchia.
The word “smooth” is a loaded one in the world of spirits. Many more casual drinkers, or those new to drinking alcohol neat, crave smoothness—meaning a spirit is easy to drink, with a soft, relatively straightforward flavor profile and little to no alcoholic kick on the finish—while more seasoned drinkers can tend to court more challenging and intense spirits. D’Ussé’s VSOP expression is definitely for fans of the smooth. It has complexity if you’re looking for it, but for those who want something pleasant to sip without having to give it too much thought, this cognac fits the bill. It also makes a nice Sidecar or Vieux Carré.
Serious cognac enthusiasts may snub D’Ussé for the same reasons newbies embrace it: the eye-catching bottle and the Jay-Z connection. But this is a fine sipper for anyone—not a life-changing brandy, but it can help make your day a little more enjoyable.
Château de Cognac, where D’Ussé is matured, has eau-de-vie dating back to 1820 and is housed in a castle that dates to the 15th century.
The bottom line: This is a nice everyday after-dinner sipper or cocktail mixer. It’s nothing to get too worked up over, but there’s nothing bad about it, either.