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Monday, October 21, 2013

D'ussé

Cognac

Cognac has a reputation as a fancy liqueur, popular with rappers and the more ostentatious drinkers. Remy Martin, Hennessy and Courvoisier have all been popular with American singers and artists and a new name is about to join this list.

Jay-Z, one of the kingpins of the American music scene, has lent his support to the newly launched cognac: D'Ussé. He has been seen holding its distinctive bottle and has been known to mention it onstage, so we were keen to see if we shared his taste.

Jay-Z's performances at the O2 in early October gave the brand the perfect platform to launch in the UK. At present, D'Ussé isn't available to buy in supermarkets or off licences, or even specialist spirits suppliers. The only place currently serving it is Hakkasan, one of our all-time favourite Asian restaurants.

D'ussé is quite unlike any cognac we've ever tried before. Previously, we had only drank cognac after a meal as a digestif, and always found it to have a little fire to it. However, unlike our previous experiences, D'Ussé lacks the harsh fieriness, making it a much smoother drink and more similar to a single malt scotch than a normal cognac. Either on the rocks or straight up (our personal favourite), it’s a great sipping drink.

If neat spirits are not for you, then it also works well in cocktails. We tried a simple, refreshing Cognac Tonic, where the spirit is mixed with tonic water and orange; a Black River Pearl with cognac mixed with sherry, bitters and Benedictine liqueur, making this a short, mildly sweet drink that was dangerously drinkable; and the very popular Violetta, a fruity mix of D'Ussé, triple sec, lemon and cranberry. If we didn't know better, we would not have been able to identify the final cocktail as a cognac-based drink. This is very much a cocktail for people who don't yet know that they like cognac.

It's rare to find a drink that works equally well straight as it does in fruity long drinks or more masculine short cocktails. The versatility makes D'Ussé a remarkable spirit, smooth, pleasant on the palate but still punchy and drink that can be served in so many different ways. Looks like Jay-Z just might be on to something here...

Read our review from Hakkasan HERE

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