We talked to Michel Casavecchia, the cellar master of the Château de Cognac, France – the producers of Baron Otard and Cognac D’Ussé.
Cognac-Expert: Dear Monsieur Casavecchia, thank you for taking the time.
Where is D’Ussé made and can you tell us a bit about the Chateau where it’s produced?
Michel Casavecchia: D’Ussé is made in the heart of Cognac, produced by Château de Cognac, one of the most ancient Cognac producers, who also owns Cognac Baron Otard.
Our cognac house owns the historical Château de Cognac, the castle of the town of Cognac, birthplace of French King François I. – still today it’s the facility where we age our cognacs. We have done this at the Chateau for over 200 years.
CE: How is D’Usse cognac made and what kind of blend is it?
Casavecchia: D’Ussé Cognac is a totally different blend than Baron Otard. The Eaux de Vie selected for D’Ussé are aged in a combination of dry and humid cellars, and the blend is made from Eaux de Vie coming from the four Crus we are buying from: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fins Bois.
CE: D’Usse is a VSOP cognac. What does that mean?
Casavecchia: A VSOP is a blend with Eaux de Vie of a minimum ageing of 4 and a half years. This is also the case for D’Ussé VSOP.
CE: What’s your preferred way of drinking D’Usse VSOP?
Casavecchia: As a Cellar Master, I enjoy drinking Cognac neat and D’Ussé is perfect for this kind of serve, but I have also tasted excellent cocktails with Cognac D’Ussé.
CE: What’s the difference between this VSOP and other VSOPs. How does it differentiate taste wise?
Casavecchia: D’Ussé has a lot of complexity, is a very aromatic cognac, and has a very bold taste. 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.
These different ageing conditions are a benefit of the ageing process at the Château. The castle allows me to pick from numerous cellars, with a lot of differences from one cellar to the other, in terms of temperature and humidity.
Additionally, I pay a lot of attention to long maturation periods to ensure that all the Eaux de Vie that are in D’Ussé harmonise perfectly.
CE: In three words, what’s the taste structure of D’Usse VSOP?
Casavecchia: Spicy, smooth, bold.
CE: How long did it take to discover the right blend for this cognac?
Casavecchia: It took me more than a year to achieve the perfect balance for D’Ussé. Thanks to the Château, I had a lot of different Eaux de Vie that I could blend together in order to achieve the style and taste profile I was looking for. Outcome: D’Ussé.
CE: And we can’t finish without mentioning one of the world’s biggest superstars – Jay-Z. Are you proud about the fact that he likes your work and product?
Casavecchia: It has been a privilege for me to realise that a superstar, and also a Cognac lover, had discovered, tasted, and enjoyed D’Ussé Cognac. This, as well as all the extremely positive feedback we have received from everyone, is a sign of recognition for all the hard work we have put in this blend. The whole process of creating D’Ussé was and remains a fantastic experience.
CE: Monsieur Casavecchia, thank you for your time.
Read more about Cognac D’Usse