Joie De Vivre: How D'USSÉ Elevates Culture Across Generations
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D’USSÉ Global Brand Ambassador Sullivan Doh PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
D’USSÉ has become synonymous with culture, but to understand its evolution, one has to understand its heritage that began in Cognac, France. Here, Maître de Chai Michel Casavecchia, cellar master of Château du Cognac, and Sullivan Doh, lauded mixologist and D’USSÉ global brand ambassador, discuss the liquid gold’s magic.
Inside the cognac distillation process. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
One thing that France has mastered is joie de vivre (or “joy of living”), and what better way to enjoy life than with a cocktail in hand? The country is known for a variety of spirits, but cognac (notably D’USSÉ) has been loved for generations for both its sophistication and versatility.
During a two-part trip to France, we were able to experience just what makes D’USSÉ (@dussecognac) so magical. The first stop was in Cognac, where we learned the intricacies of creating the spirit, from the distillation process to making the barrels. Then, we drifted off to Paris to further explore all the ways D’USSÉ could transform the standard cocktail while simultaneously celebrating the thrill of Bastille Day.
The D’USSÉ-hosted dinner at Château du Cognac PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
The immersive experience was guided by Maître de Chai Michel Casavecchia, the respected cellar master of Château du Cognac. The prestigious 200-year-old château (where D’USSÉ is made) is one of the oldest cognac houses in France. The other guide was Sullivan Doh, mixologist and D’USSÉ’s first-ever global brand ambassador, who has played a key role in further expanding the company’s cultural impact since his appointment in 2019.
It’s important to note that cognac is a category of brandy. In order for the wine-based spirit to be considered a cognac, it has to adhere to two factors: being produced in the Cognac region of France and being made from white grapes from one or more of the six approved regions (Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois, Bois Ordinaires).
The cellar filled with cognac barrels PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
Casavecchia, who has been crafting spirits for nearly 30 years, created D’USSÉ VSOP and D’USSÉ XO in 2012 to offer a modern take that can be enjoyed by all without pretense. “I wanted to refresh it because cognac has been considered an after-dinner drink that you don’t mix. When you go through the genesis of the cocktail industry, you find out that in the 1850s we were making cocktails with cognac,” he explains. “It has been part of the culture from the beginning and we forgot about it. Cognac is one of those products that is generational, and that’s how I fell in love with it.”
The iconic D’USSÉ bottle. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
Casavecchia, who is from the Lorraine region in northeast France, grew up seeing his father enjoy cognac. It made for a full-circle moment when he got the opportunity to become a cellar master.
Inside the château’s dining room for the D’USSÉ dinner PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
“We make sure that D’USSÉ is part of those moments,” Doh shares of the spirit brand’s cultural impact. “People see that on social media or at parties, and so for them, it’s a connection that is so authentic and genuine. It’s a sexy bottle; the liquid inside is beautiful. You have an A-list product from an A-list company, so it works together and just makes sense. Nothing is fake.”
Maître de Chai Michel Casavecchia PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
During the trip, we enjoyed D’USSÉ neat (even sampling the coveted eau-de-vie, or “water of life,” a fruity and unaged essence) and in cocktails like the sidecar and French 75. “Take your favorite cocktail, no matter what spirit base it is, and put D’USSÉ in it. Nine out of 10 times, it’s gonna work,” Doh says. “I enjoy it neat, in cocktails, I enjoy cooking with it. I do a lobster with D’USSÉ butter. Casavecchia’s wife made me some scallops flambéed with D’USSÉ. You have so many possibilities, that’s why I love this cognac. This is the one spirit you can do anything with.”
Glasses of D’USSÉ PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
Architectural view of the château. PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
Artwork inside Château du Cognac PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ
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Photography by: CHRISTOPHE MARIOT FOR D’USSÉ