How much do you know about the cognac brand, D'USSE? Have you ever tried it? Do you know its history? In this article about this legendary cognac that has a history of over two hundred years, we will share ten things you may not know about D'USSE cognac and its connection to Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter.
10. Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter
Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, along with Bacardi Limited, is one of the investors behind the cognac brand known as D'USSE. As mentioned, this cognac has a two-hundred-year-old history. So, how can the artist known as JAY-Z, who is still very much alive and well today, possibly have a connection with something like this? The story here begins with Michel Casavecchia, the master distiller of Chateau de Cognac, who invited the famed rapper to taste the first samples of what the public knows now as D'USSE's VSOP and XO cognacs. It would also be during this visit he would introduce JAY-Z to a 1969 Grande Champagne cognac. Its flavoring featured leather, cigar box, and forest floor that was so perfectly balanced when JAY-Z tried it, this was a hit. If there's an artist that knows a thing or two about hits, it is JAY-Z. According to his own words, “The whole process behind the 1969 Anniversaire collection reminded me why I got involved in the spirits industry in the first place – to create something that will stand the test of time.”
9. D'USSE 1969 Anniversaire Limited Edition Auction
Upon celebrating his fiftieth birthday, JAY-Z's introduction to the D'USSE 1969 Anniversaire Limited Edition cognac was arranged by Michel Casavecchia as an exquisite beverage that was moved from its wooden barrel to bottled glass. Each of these bottles was cut into a twelve-cut crystal diamond decanter where the first of these bottles was scheduled to be auctioned at Sotheby's on March 13, 2021. This particular bottle featured an engraved signature, courtesy of JAY-Z himself, as well as a twenty-four karat gold leaf wrapped around the bottle's neck. The bottle sold for $52,500.00 USD. In total, there were only fifty of these bottles made, commemorating JAY-Z's birthday when he turned fifty years old in 2019.
8. Sotheby Auction Site
Sotheby's Auction Site not only shares the information about the D'USSE Grande Champagne Cognac Anniversaire Limited Edition 1969 cognac that commemorates JAY-Z but provides additional information about all of its auctions, past and present. For buyers and sellers, whether in an auction environment or retail, the site provides enough detailed information to either obtain a bottle for yourself or perhaps set up a business opportunity.
6. Chateau de Cognac
The historic Chateau de Cognac is where the two hundred years of history connect with the D'USSE cognac brand. This is the venue that serves as the home of one of the oldest cognac houses in France. This is where Michel Casavecchia created D'USSE. Cited as a historical monument, this French House of BARON OTARD Cognacs offers a variety of tours that allow visitors to learn about the history of the chateau and the cognac, as well as understand how the aging process of the cellars works. In fact, Chateau de Cognac dates as far back as the tenth century, which is considerably more than just two hundred years.
5. Earliest Chateau de Cognac History Lesson
To better understand D'USSE cognac is to learn more about the full history of Chateau de Cognac. It was first made as a public venue two hundred years ago but long before this date, the castle otherwise known as Chateau de Valois and Chateau Francoise is located in Cognac, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. Over the stretch of time, it has been rebuilt many times over. In 950 A.D., Lord Helie de Villebois fortified this castle before it was settled fifty years later by Itier and Arnaud de Villebois. This is where the dynasty of the family that possessed this castle began. Aside from the Saint Leger Church and the Benedictine convents, a small town developed around the fort and priory. In 1200 A.D., the castle was rebuilt in stone on the riverbank of Charente, facing the docks. A wall was built to circle the town. By marriage, Chateau de Cognac was passed from Amelie de Cognac to Philippe de Falcombridge. He was the illegitimate son of England's King Richard I. He sold this lordship to John, King of England before it was entrusted to Renaud II de Pons, Pons de Mirebeau, Robert de Torneham, then seneschal of Poitou in 1202. Legally, this territory belonged to the Count of Angouleme but was controlled by his suzerain, the Count of Poitou since the 1180s.
4. Chateau de Cognac Family Feud
After England's King John died during the fall of 1216, Hubert de Burgh, seneschal of Poitou, seized Chateau de Cognac. This sparked a war with Renaud II that lasted for many years, even after Isabella, King John's widow and rightful heiress of Angouleme, reasserted her rights over the castle and enfeoffed Hugh X of Lusignan, her new husband. Renaud II managed to keep control of Cognac and its dependencies as the war waged on until De Lusignan took the castle, ignoring the threats issued against him and the threat of ex-communication by Pope Honorius III. Come the thirteenth century, Lusignan applied extensions to the castle once he took it over. From 1366 until 1370, Chateau de Cognac, along with Angouleme Castle, served as the main residences of England's King Edward III's son, Edward, Prince of Aquitaine and Wales. The lordship of Chateau de Cognac was linked to the crown of France via King Philip IV of France until the Hundred Years' War witnessed this castle change hands again. When John, Count of Angouleme was released from captivity in England thirty-three years later, he found the castle abandoned and in ruins. Reconstruction of Chateau de Cognac began in 1450. When it was completed, his son, Charles, along with Louise of Savoy, turned the castle into an intellectual and artistic center. It was their son, King Francis I of France, who built the long facade of the castle facing the banks in 1517. However, due to the lack of maintenance, the castle fell to ruins again going into the eighteenth century. The owner at that time, Charles, Count d'Artois, sold buildings off as a means to finance the repairs.
3. Sold for Demolition
Chateau de Cognac was destined for demolition after it was sold as a national property. However, it was purchased by Messrs Otard and Dupuy in 1795 as a location to install cellars. Throughout much of the nineteenth century, this castle underwent extensive conservation, renovation, and restoration projects. It has since been turned into a historical landmark, as well as the home of D'USSE.
2. Barcardi Influence
D'USSE was developed as a joint venture with Bacardi and the rapper known as JAY-Z. According to Black Tail NYC, Michel Casavecchia opened the cellars of D'USSE and was the creator of this exquisite cognac. Since then, Chateau du Cognac and D'USSE have been a subsidiary of Bacardi. Sovereign Brands, the founder of D'USSE Cognac, still retains one-third of the ownership of this brand.
1. The D'USSE Two
The Michel Casavecchia-created D'USSE only produces two cognacs from its brand name. The D'USSE VSOP is the one while D'USSE XO is the other. The VSOP is aged at least fifty-four months in the cellars belonging to Chateau de Cognac. When ready, the bouquet offers a rich and woody flavoring with hints of cinnamon and floral. The XO undergoes an aging process minimum of ten years, sitting in the French oak barrels within the two-hundred-year-old chateau. When ready for consumption, it delivers a rich combination of apricot and blackberry, along with hints of dark chocolate and walnut.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith