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.

D'Ussé cognac in Max' hand when we visited the Chateau

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.

Chateau de Cognac in France

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.

Cellar of Chateau de Cognac

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.

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Max founded Cognac Expert in 2009, and very much into Cognac and French Spirits tasting, blogging & commerce. His topics are marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also an organic farmer for wheat, hay and vines. A big heart for machines and tractors. Starting as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest platfrom about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 1500+ different Cognac bottles.


  1. Avatar
    Vasi King

    It is unfortunate when a salesman is not well educated on the type of cognac he is selling but sells it on the merit of its exterior bottle design and what others have told him. Well, who were these others who’s palette has been used to fast food?
    I was very specific in asking for a taste similar to my favorite brand Rouyer Guillet 1968 which is no longer manufactured. It had a strong masculine tone one wanted to wear let alone drink. And it went down like velvet. No burning. Excellent for cooking and baking as well.
    D’usse however is reminiscent of “fire water” to the initial scent & thereafter its taste let alone the burning sensation down the throat. A hit of wasabi.
    Definitely not luxury definitely not for rich taste-buds and definitely not for any recipe. And, no, I’m not using the word rich to describe an economic status. The bottle is lovely and shall remain that as a display piece in my curio based on the price for which I paid.

  2. Avatar
    Matt Nelson

    Finally purchased bottle of D’usse after months and months of hearing how great it tasted, how smooth it is. Well talk about disappointment. First the bottle is Beautiful. As far as the smell and taste. Upon smelling it it has a harsh almost burn the nostrils scent to it. The taste is HORRIBLE not good then at the end it has a nasty burn that almost comes through the nose like Wasabi. Upset that I spent as much as I did on it. If I could I’d ask for a refund (Jay Z I want my money back). I would rather drink E & J then D’usse. It is ONLY receiving/getting all the hype because Jay Z is behind it. Not from Quality

  3. Avatar

    I have been searching for a moderately priced cognac for sometime. All the rave is for Hennessy, Remy, Martell and Abk6. They do not compare to the complex flavors of D Usse. VSOP. I just finished a Remy XO bottle and I like the bottle design but would rather have D poured in that bottle. What a nice aroma and smooth drink neat. Can’t wait to try the XO but I might have to get a second job.

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