D'Ussé Cognac has quickly achieved a large following since its debut in 2012. The D'Ussé bottle, which features a beautifully carved cross of Lorraine, already attracts attention.
However, this Cognac is more than just a pretty bottle. Both versions of D'Ussé VSOP and D'Ussé XO are of high quality.
Still, no doubt, the popularity of D'Ussé Cognac is partly owed to the fact that it got released as a celebrity special edition. Jay-Z, a famous rapper, is the brand's co-founder.
And Jay-Z is not the only famous rapper producing Cognac. For instance, Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 Cent, runs Branson Cognac, which was released a few years ago.
But while many celebrity releases seem over-priced for what you get, D'Usse is a serious contender in the market. Probably because, besides Jay-Z, the Bacardi Group got involved in the project.
Different expressions of Cognac D'Ussé
D'Ussé Cognac is currently available as VSOP and XO. The VSOP version comes in a transparent bottle with a brass-colored cross. And the XO expression is sold in a shiny black bottle.
The base of D'Ussé VSOP is the finest Eaux de Vies - a type of fruity Brandy that serves as a base for Cognac.
Produced in the Château de Cognac, this Brandy matures for at least four and a half years. The result is a naturally aged, potent, and full-bodied Cognac.
D'Ussé Cognac VSOP review
Bottle size: 700ml
Tasting notes: Citrus, dried fruit, cinnamon, and apple
I want to say in advance that D'Ussé Cognac VSOP is not the best Cognac out there. I would not call it top shelf, either. But it is good value for money.
This Cognac is a smooth, velvety, and easy-to-drink spirit with subtle sweet and floral notes. But now, let's dive a bit deeper into the characteristics of D'Ussé VSOP.
The nose of this Cognac is sweet, floral, and full of fruity notes. Citrus fruit, apple, and cinnamon mingle with a hint of honey and caramel.
On the palate, you get nutty notes from almonds, dried fruits, more sweetness, and oaky spiciness. You can feel the smooth texture of this Brandy on your tongue. Definitely, an elegant and very soft Cognac that's a good pick for Cognac beginners.
The finish has a slightly alcoholic bite to it, but that is followed by a fruity aftertaste and slight notes of oak.
The Eaux de Vie used to make D'Ussé XO ages for a minimum of 10 years in French oak barrels.
The extended aging process and the oak wood give it a beautiful complexity, where fruity notes of apricots and blackberries mix with hints of dark chocolate and nuts. D'Ussé Cognac XO is best enjoyed neat or over ice.
D'Ussé Cognac XO review
Bottle size: 700ml
Tasting notes: Blackberry, apricot, dark chocolate, and walnut
Compared to the standard VSOP, the D'Ussé XO is another level. It's a fantastic Cognac, full-bodied, with a lot of character.
Already with the first nose comes incredibly spirited and aromatic. Woody and spicy notes of cinnamon and cloves mingle with fruity aromas.
On the palate, the various flavor notes meld into mocha and chocolate. In the background, you can also taste hints of toffee and tropical flavors like coconut and banana.
Compared to the VSOP expression, the XO is less fruit-forward and focuses on sweet and chocolatey aromas and flavors. But having said that, subtle exotic fruits make this Cognac special and give it a unique touch. Something that the VSOP variant is lacking.
Use of D'Ussé Cognac in cocktails
However, I recommend using the VSOP in mixed drinks. The huge price difference is the obvious reason - the VSOP is a lot more affordable. But also, the subtle aromas making the XO expression so great when drunk neat will get lost in cocktails. So that's a lot of money wasted.
Both Cognacs are suitable for sipping neat or on the rocks. However, the D'Usse XO is far superior and has a really intriguing flavor profile. The standard VSOP expression lacks a bit of complexity.
If you're new to Cognac, I recommend trying the VSOP first. It's smooth and more economical.
If you're a seasoned Cognac and Brandy drinker, the XO expression likely is the better choice. It's more complex and challenging with a unique taste.