I can’t believe how many people were asking what Jay was drinking last night at the Grammys. I mean, it wasn’t like it was wine! But seriously, that guy can sell anything, and this time he’s selling D’Ussé cognac.
It’s a new cognac that debuted last summer, with Jay-Z’s help. What exactly is Hov’s relationship with the cognac? Unclear, just like his partnership with Ace of Spaces. It’s been debated what, if any, kind of financial stake he has in his promotional deal with the $300-a-bottle champers and I haven’t found any exact details about the D’Ussé one either. He does have it in all his 40/40 clubs though, so I wouldn’t be floored if he’s getting a slice. Plus, no one (especially not Jay-Z) does this backstage at the Grammys without getting a cut:
Here are a few basics about cognac:
- Cognac is brandy that’s made by double-distilling white wines produced in designated growing regions in France
- distillation happens in a cool-shaped copper still called an alembic, whose design and size is specially controlled
- grapes: has to be at least 90% Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and/or Colombard
- aging: V.S. (“very special”) level has to be aged in Limousin oak casks for at least two years. VSOP (“very superior old pale”), which is what D’Usse is, has to be aged for at least four years; XO (“extra old”) is stored for at least six years
- blending: made from different local areas and different-aged brandies, and the age is determined by the youngest one.
- there are over 200 cognac producers, though almost 80-90% is made by only four companies: Courvoisier, Hennessy, Martell, and Rémy Martin. Not any more if Jay has anything to do with it…
If you don’t know about D’Ussé consider yourself decidedly not in the target demo since it’s been everywhere – Super Bowl, Art Basel, the Grammys, and this weekend’s upcoming NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Jay and Bey have been making appearances and hosting parties at all these big events to help Bacardi bust into the cognac game:
Here’s a cool commercial for it with Jay, though I’ve never seen it on air:
I’ve always been much more of a port girl and don’t do cognac often (I think I’ve only had Hine and Delamain) so I haven’t tried D’Ussé yet, but here’s how the cellar master describes it: “The first sip shows woody, spicy (cinnamon) tones, a benefit from the ageing in dry cellars. The aftertaste is long, smooth and round, thanks to the ageing taking place in humid conditions.”
Thoughts? Would you buy it? Do you even drink cognac?
I tried D’Ussé while living in Washington, D.C. I feel it is very popular there because of the crowd of young professionals. It is a great mixing brandy… Park at 14th made delicious Cognac Punch using D’Ussé. I assume it is okay to sip neatly too.
Yep, good to sip on by itself too…
Thanks for the article GF. Yes, I do drink Cognac and I am young, so very atypical 🙂 I would not buy this Cognac, but I would like to taste it, if its a proper Grande Champagne blend. I drink Cognac for the quality in the bottle and thus after many trips through small makers with crude but charming mouth-blown bottles, I found my ultimate favourite 2 years ago.
First I started with Martell, bought a VS and quickly turned to Corden Bleu after tasting both and used the VS for drinks. CB is an excellent good Cognac if your’e fine with a “good enough” Cognac. I then went to Hennesy XO, was disappointed, then to Delamain XO(their std bottle) and it was alot better and fuller palette to too rough on the edges, not wellrounded for me. Then I consulted a Cognac book and tried Pierre Ferrand’s Abel and it was divinely good. This was the first truely mouth-blown straight crude bottle and with a seducing 45 yr old content of really GREAT Cognac. Clearly the best $275 spent on any Cognac. In 2011 I wanted to celebrate getting a great job so I bought a Tesseron No.29 after RP gave it 100 points, thinking, this is probably worse than Abel, which I couldn’t find at that moment, but it wasn’t. The No 29 is EXCELLENT with BIG exclamation point, so rich, so Cognac’y, liquid velvet and NO sharp edges AT ALL. Its probably a tie with that and Abel for shear smell/bouquet and taste/palette but the No 29 has a more silky velvet finish but it comes at $550, so twice the price of Abel. both HIGHLY recommended to taste against your favourite Cognac, if you think your current favourite is good! 🙂
Thanks for all the info! I don’t drink nearly as much cognac, so very helpful. Cheers!
Youre welcome, its an awesome drink in general. I drink it from white wine glasses from Spigelau, because I found they spread the smell better than any Cognac glasses I’ve found.
I don’t drink alot just when ever I feel like it. The No 29 is still on my shelf here and 40% full.
In general I’ve tasted alot more Cognacs than the ones listed here but those were not really up to the standards of these I did mention. After Delamain’s standard XO, it was just lack luster to taste most of Martell’s, Courvosier and Hennesy’s range, sort of like they had spend too much time on fancy bottles and not enough on the brown liquid inside.
Speaking of time, its also a very nice feeling to know that the No 29 has been blended from eau de vie’s(the raw Cognacs they blend the final blend from) not younger than 1929 and some ranging more than a 100 yrs back. This will explain the liquid velvet sensation of that drink. Quite remarkable than some people back then thought so far ahead.
I hope and wish someone in the Cognac region is doing the same today, thinking ahead so they can make a No 13 in 2097 so they can have the same joy we do.
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