Established in 2012, D’USSÉ is the oh-so-chic and luxurious French spirit to know, and more importantly, to taste. Cognac dates back to the 1600s, but this label set out to shake up the specific industry, and it sure has worked as their sales have rocketed. The cognac resurgence is here, thanks to the rich, deep tasting notes everyone wants in. With all this in mind, we talk to the D’USSÉ Global Brand Ambassador, Sullivan Doh, on the history of Cognac, their brand offering, and he also shares his favorite cocktail for us to try at home.
Tell us about the history of D’USSÉ cognac?
D’USSÉ Cognac has an interesting history compared to some other Cognacs that have been around for centuries. D’USSÉ is a relatively new brand that launched in June of 2012, yet it encases a liquid that is curated at a 200-year old venue called the Château de Cognac – one of the oldest Cognac houses in France. D’USSÉ Cognac was conceived by the senior-most cellar master working today, Michel Casavecchia, who I’m honored to closely work with regularly.
Michel’s vision behind the creation of D’USSÉ was to reinvigorate the category and create a Cognac that stands for boldness, integrity, freedom, authenticity, and modernity, with a goal of bringing freshness to the Cognac category while still honoring the steep history of the spirit.
After launching D’USSÉ V.S.O.P. in June of 2012, D’USSÉ also launched a high-end X.O. Blend in the spring of 2014, rounding out the D’USSE portfolio with a premium offering and an ultra-premium offering.
How did you get into the drinks industry and join D’USSÉ?
I’m a French native through and through, and my spirit’s journey started in 2009 when I joined the Parisian bar experience as a bartender, after giving engineering and catering school a go. I hustled my way up to a head bartender position by 2012. During my experience at the bar scene, I recognized an opportunity to shed more light on French spirits within my nation. I didn’t want the richness my country has to offer to be ignored.
In 2014, I ventured on my own and led the charge in bringing recognition to French spirits by co-founding Le Syndicat Paris – the first cocktail bar in Paris to use only French alcohol. To give some perspective, 97% of the Cognac produced in Cognac, France, is deported, and I wanted to do something about that.
In 2016, I started managing my second bar in France called La Commune, which has a focus on punches and communal drinks, all made with French spirits, of course. Both bars have earned recognition amongst lists of worldwide best cocktail bars, which lead me to be recognized by D’USSÉ. The brand’s vision to reinvigorate the French spirits category resonated with me, so it was a natural and authentic partnership when I was appointed as D’USSÉ Cognac’s Global Brand Ambassador in 2019.
What is the product offering, and the advantages of them?
D’USSÉ currently has two signature offerings – V.S.O.P. and X.O. V.S.O.P. (S.R.P. $50) is the perfectly balanced blend of selected Cognacs aged at least 4 ½ years in French oak barrels in the prestigious Château de Cognac’s unique dry and humid cellars, containing a 40% A.B.V. These natural aging environments are a crucial factor in delivering a V.S.O.P. blend with a strong, complex taste and a pleasantly smooth finish.
X.O. (S.R.P. $230) is an exquisite, ultra-premium blend championing the category? The hand-selected Eaux-de-vie used in D’USSÉ XO is aged a minimum of 10 years in French oak casks, and the result is an uncompromising Cognac that delivers complex flavor and culminates in an exceptionally balanced finish. D’USSÉ XO starts with a fruity bouquet on the nose, bringing notes of hazelnuts, nutmeg, apricot, orange, wood, and subtle warm spice on the palate – a festive flavor combination perfect for the holidays. A statement wherever it rests, the exceptional bottle design – inspired by the liquid it contains – is both class and modern bearing the Cross of Lorraine: a symbol of honor, courage, and perseverance.
What’s your go-to D’USSÉ cognac cocktail, and why?
My go-to D’USSÉ cocktail has to be the Splendid Sidecar. The inspiration behind this cocktail was to create a modern twist on the classic Sidecar, just how D’USSÉ has put a modern twist on the Cognac category. The proportions are rebalanced for today’s palate, and the addition of orange blossom water enhances the citrus profile of the cocktail, playing around with the orange notes of D’USSÉ.
D’USSÉ Splendid Sidecar
- 1.5 parts D’USSÉ VSOP
- 1 part Triple Sec / Orange Liqueur
- 3/4 part Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/3 part Orange Blossom Water
- 1 tsp. Simple Syrup