One On One With Jay-Z’s D’ussé Cellar Master

Jay-Z has been shouting out to the good life in his records for decades. From Range Rover to Rolex, the man has a love for the finer things in life and that includes spirits. So, when he decided to to become a Cognac king, the cocktail world took notice.


In 2012, Jay-Z introduced Bacardi‘s D’ussé, a new VSOP Cognac to the world. The brand was to be situated as a competitor to cognacs like Rémy Martin, Hennessy, and Courvoisier and appeal to a younger demographic that liked to party sans red solo cup. The plan worked and D’ussé has not only become a reoccurring shout out in HOV’s songs, but it also found a place on the top shelf of restaurants, bars, and premium liquor stores all over the country. Oh, and it went on tour, too.

The D’ussé Cognac Deuces cocktail was the official cocktail of the “Drunk in Love” tour. The drink not only tastes good, but it manages to marry Jay-Z and Beyonce, again, but this time in a glass.  And who could forget the image of Jay drinking D’ussé out of the Grammy in 2013?


The task of creating one of the world’s most premium cognacs is not all in Jay’s hands though. For that he has enlisted the expertise of D’ussé Cognac Cellar Master, Michel Casavecchia. For more than two decades, Michel has been curating some of the world’s finest cognacs at the legendary Château de Cognac. Jay visited the Château in 2011 to test and taste samples produced in small batches by Michel Casavecchia. To their surprise, Jay knew more than they thought and and strong opinions on the flavors and profiles he wanted the spirit to embrace.

Together Casavecchia and HOVA set out to create a distinctively bold, yet remarkably smooth Cognac. The result is D’ussé Cognac. And Casavecchia is pretty excited about it. 

Chateau Dusse

How is D’ussé different from other cognacs produced in the region?

While most Cognac brands (and blends) have existed for decades – or even centuries – they were mostly crafted for being enjoyed neat (without ice or a mixer). D’ussé has been around for 5 years with very a clear objective– to create a beautiful blend that could be enjoyed neat or as a perfect ingredient for making premium cocktails. In that sense, D’ussé VSOP is uniquely versatile and well suited for very different occasions.

D’ussé is created in the historic Chateau de Cognac. What makes it special to D’ussé’s production?

The Château de Cognac is a unique building – being the only Royal Castle in the city of Cognac, originally built more than 1000 years ago – but it also provides unique organic aging conditions with a combination of dry cellars and humid cellars, among which the exceptional lower vaults cellars, located by the River Charente and protected by massive walls (3 meters thick).

The aging conditions within the Château de Cognac play a very important role and are at the heart of the distinct taste profile of D’ussé – a combination of spicy notes, coming from eaux-de-vie aged in dry cellars, and of fruity aromas and long, smooth aftertaste, thanks to eaux-de-vie aged in our organically humid cellars. The Château de Cognac is where our company has been producing Cognac since 1795 and therefore the perfect location to create D’ussé.

Was the first time you met Jay-Z in 2011 when he visited the Chateau?


chateau de cognac interior

How involved is he with the D’ussé process?

Mr. Carter leads global strategy for the brand with a clear vision to set a new standard for cognac around the globe.

Do you like the cocktails that the brand has been creating? What, aside from drinking D’ussé neat, is your preferred way to enjoy D’ussé?

I do love the cocktails that feature D’ussé as the major ingredient. I especially love the classic cognac cocktails, like the D’ussé SideCar or a Vieux Carré, where the complexity and bold taste of D’ussé perfectly combine with the other ingredients and give more substance and depth to the experience. As a simple, refreshing (and also perfect summer drink), D’ussé Lemonade has also become one of my simple favorites.

How challenging was it to blend a Cognac that could easily be mixed yet still stand alone as a neat cocktail?

Since I wanted to create a Cognac that could be a perfect ingredient for making cocktails, I chose to create an older VSOP blend rather than creating a younger VS blend. In a VSOP, the eaux-de-vie, because of their age, are more complex, more aromatic, and therefore will support being combined with other ingredients and will balance them really well. Also, once my blend is complete, I make sure that I leave it for maturation for a period of about 6 months. This is critical to ensure that all the components of the blend will marry well and harmonize. This gives the blend more structure, more intensity, making it perfect for being mixed and for being drunk neat.

D’ussé Deuces

AKA D’ussé & Lemonade

  • 1.5 oz D’ussé
  • 2.5 oz Simply Lemonade
  • .5 oz Ginger Ale
  • Splash of grenadine