is brandy but not all brandy is Cognac. Brandy is produced
from numerous different types of grapes, using various methods,
virtually everywhere in the world. Highly regulated Cognac
on the other hand can only be produced in the Cognac region
of France. It must be 90% made from a nasty little white grape
called the Ugni Blanc that is very dry, acidic and thin and
produces undrinkable wine but kicks butt when distilled and
aged. Also allowed in that 90% group are Folle Blanche and
must be twice distilled in copper pot stills and aged at least
2 years in French oak barrels but most of it is aged for considerably
more time. With all these requirements in place I am surprised
that the French don't go just a bit further and demand that
only French virgin maidens be allowed to handle the spirit
during its various phases of production and on top of that
only during periods of a full moon.
just happen to be a big fan of Cognac and have taste driven
some 30 or 40 brands and have to admit that all that regulation
and control seem to have a positive effect on the final product.
I'll admit that it's an acquired taste and your first time
with a straight up snifter of Cognac might make you think
that anyone who drinks this stuff is insane. But slow and
easy does it. Small sips while enjoying the nose is definitely
the only way to go.
now Bacardi introduces D'USSE VSOP. D'USSE
is crafted at the Chateau de Cognac which has a 200 year old
legacy of blending spirits and storing them within their limestone
cellars. The youngest Cognacs in this D'USSE VSOP blend are
aged for at least 41/2 years. As far as the rating system
goes, VS (Very Special) is where it starts with the youngest
in the blend being aged for at least 2 years. Then comes VSOP
(very superior old and pale) with the youngest aged for at
least 4 years. Then there's XO (extra old) with the youngest
Cognacs in the blend being at least 6 years old. Of course
it doesn't stop there as Cognacs of 20 to 50 and even over
100 years old are certainly available. I have the feeling
that D'USSE will be adding a couple more
blends to its line up in the near future.
VSOP comes in a short squat bottle with the historic
Cross of Lorraine on one side of the bottle and its name on
the other side. Not a whole lot of marketing going on here.
The color of the liquid within is a deep amber. At first sniff,
the nose is quite filled with alcohol fumes but settles down
quickly to reveal a lush leathery, smoky, citric, nutty, oaky
aroma. On the palate at first there is a lively peppery, slightly
spicy overtone that is quickly followed by flavors of vanilla
and fruit and almonds and backed by lemon like high notes.
The finish is lively and pleasant with just enough presence
to let you know you definitely just tasted Cognac. This is
a very pleasant Cognac that justifies its price point of around
$45.00 to $50.00 per 750 ml bottle. I would consider this
a very good every day Cognac. There are of course more complex
Cognacs out there but they are all much more expensive then
this modestly priced D'USSE. That being said I again have
no doubt that this is just the start of the D'USSE line up
and there will be more offerings following sooner rather than
later. I can't wait to see what they come up with next. Cheers.
The Brown Spirit of Choice for Autumn Cocktails
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