Hennessy has been and continues to be the most popular cognac on the market, but recently D’ussé has been making a push of its own thanks to Jay-Z, the rapper who owns a 50% stake in the company. In this comparison guide, D’ussé vs Hennessy, we’re going to cover the key differences between the two cognacs. So, if you’ve ever wondered which is better, which is cheaper, or anything else, just keep reading.
Before we get into the comparison between the two, let’s start at the basics. D’ussé and Hennessy are cognacs, but what exactly does that mean?
What is Cognac?
In the most simple terms, cognac is a type of brandy, a liquor distilled from wine. Like other types of liquor such as tequila or Tennessee whiskey, cognac must be produced in a specific region. In this case, it’s the Cognac region located in southwest France. Outside of this, cognac must be made from a specific list of grapes, be aged in French oak barrels from Limousin or Troncais for a minimum 2 years, and be double distilled in copper pot stills.
When we think of high-end whiskey and scotch, we typically think single-malt or single barrel, rarely does our mind jump to a blend. However, cognac is typically blended and often in different proportions. This is because each year the grapes may be different based on climate and other environmental factors. While cognac must be aged for a minimum of 2 years, many brands have much older options. The age statement of cognac coincides with the youngest in the blend, and there are typically five age statements found on bottles:
- V.S (Very Special) – the youngest brandy has been aged two years.
- V.S.O.P (Very Superior Old Pale) – minimum 4 years for the youngest brandy
- Napoléon – aged at least 6 years
- XO (Extra Old) – minimum of 10 years
- XXO (Extra Extra Old) – 14 years
D’ussé vs Hennessy History
Now that we’ve covered the basics of cognac, we can get into our D’ussé vs Hennessy comparison, and where else shall we start but the beginning?
D’ussé’s history is quite brief as it was founded in 2012 by Jay-Z and created by Michel Casavecchia, the cellar master. Casavecchia created D’ussé in the Chateau du Cognac, a castle built in the 10th century. While its histroy is very young and lacks the significance of other, much older cognacs, D’ussé’s importance lies in its founder, Jay-Z, a billionaire rapper married to Beyonce.
The Hennessy distillery was founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy, an Irishman. It wasn’t until 1813, though, that his son James Hennessy named the company Jas Hennessy & Co. Much later, in 1971 Kilian Hennessy merged the company with Moet et Chandon creating Moet Hennessy, which later merged with Louis Vuitton. Now known as LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), the company has become one of the largest conglomerates of luxury goods and brands.
However, the modern day significance of Hennessy comes from more from pop culture and rap and less from the storied history. Hennessy has been mentioned in songs over the years by the likes of all-time greats including: 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Master P, Beyonce, Drake, and many many more.
D’ussé vs Hennessy Differences
While both D’ussé and Hennessy are draw much of their popularity from the music industry they do have their differences. The biggest lies in the types of cognac they offer. D’ussé offers two selections of their cognac – the VSOP and XO, notably leaving out the VS. Hennessy, on the other hand, offers 15 different products from the VS to the XXO as well as many other collectors bottles from different collaborations.
Another large difference is the number of eaux de vie used in each cognac. Eaux de vie is the product that comes from the distillation process prior to any blending or barreling. D’ussé is made from a blend of two eaux de vie while a bottle of Hennessy VSOP contains over 60 different eaux de vie.
D’ussé vs Hennessy Taste
When it comes to buying a bottle of D’ussé vs Hennessy, this is probably the information (along with price) that you are looking to find. However, comparing the taste of these two brands isn’t as simple as it may seem. Hennessy VS is the most popular Hennessy that is sold, but D’ussé doesn’t offer a VS, and it’s certainly not fair to compare the VS of Hennessy to the VSOP of D’ussé. So, I’m going to do my best to compare Hennessy VS and VSOP to D’ussé VSOP.
D’ussé Flavor Profile (VSOP)
Nose: Woody and floral, light caramel.
Taste: Apricot and dried fruits, honey, hints of cinnamon.
Finish: Smooth with medium length and light notes of dried fruits.
Hennessy Flavor Profile (VS and VSOP)
Nose: Fruit, almond, oak.
Taste: Vanilla with fruity and oaky notes.
Finish: light fruit and vanilla with some spice.
This is the basic profile for the VS. The VSOP is very similar except that the spice is a more prominent cinnamon that is notably smoother.
D’ussé vs Hennessy Taste Summary
As to be expected, the VSOP of D’ussé is much smoother than that of Hennessy VS, but Hennessy VSOP is right there with it. Hennessy is generally regarded as being a bit more harsh than other liquors and cognacs, but the VSOP definitely offers a smoother option. Other than this, both brands offer a pretty similar profile.
D’ussé vs Hennessy – Which Is Better?
Obviously, this is a subjective question and comes down to many things – personal preference and how you intend to drink it being among the two most important. Are you drinking it neat, on the rocks, as a shot, or mixing it? What do you prefer as your mixer? These answer to these questions will typically alter the answer to the bigger question – which is better?
While both VSOP options are notably smoother than Hennessy VS, if you plan on mixing your drink with coke, we recommend the VS simply for the price difference. Other than that, we recommend either VSOP option. Personally, I prefer D’ussé because I find it to be a tad smoother on the finish. While Hennessy and D’ussé VSOP are very good neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of water, they also work well in mixed drinks. Below are some options for mixed drinks.
D’ussé and Hennessy Cocktails
1. Hennessy (VS) and Coke
While Hennessy is often taken as a shot or as pulls, this is a more rough option than a simple Hennessy and Coke.
2. D’ussé Champagne Sparkler
This drink is listed on the D’ussé website and is perfect for any celebration or special event. Mix D’ussé with sparkling wine, add a sugar cube and a couple dashes of bitters.
3. Hennessy Sidecar (VSOP)
Add orange liqueur and lemon juice to Hennessy VSOP. Add a sugar rim and/or garnish with a lemon or orange twist to make your sidecar just a little extra!
4. D’ussé and Hennessy VSOP Neat
Typically, VSOP cognacs are drank neat, over the rocks, or with a splash of water. Things are no different with these two VSOP options. Both are quality cognacs and should at least be tried by itself.
D’ussé vs Hennessy Price
D’ussé and Hennessy come in at similar price points as both tend to be in the higher price category. Hennessy does have the cheapest option because they offer the VS. Prices may vary depending on location and individual store.
- Hennessy VS 750ml: $40-50
- Hennessy VS 1.75L: ~$90
- Hennessy VSOP 750ml: $52-60
- D’ussé VSOP 750ml: $52-60
As you can see, D’ussé and Hennessy come in right around the same price point for the VSOP selection, while the VS is about $10-15 cheaper. Both of these options are on the expensive side of things, but it should be noted that cognac is typically more expensive than other liquors because distilling grapes and wine is more expensive than grain.
D’ussé vs Hennessy Summary
The direct influence that hip-hop/rap and pop culture have had on these two brands of cognac is just one of the many reasons that makes D’ussé vs Hennessy an interesting comparison.
The major difference between these two cognacs lies in the blend of eaux de vie and in their selections. Hennessy has been around a lot longer and has many many more options to choose from than D’ussé. Along with that Hennessy produces a VS which allows for a cheaper entry point.
All in all, when it comes to the VSOP options, we give a slight advantage to D’ussé due to the smoothness, but Hennessy is right there with it. Hennessy is by far the most popular cognac and that by itself should garner some respect. If you regularly drink Hennessy or Cognac and have not tried D’ussé, we recommend you at least add it to your list of things to try!
If you’re interested in exploring more options, check out our comparison guide Bushmills vs Jameson to learn about the leading Irish whiskeys.
D’ussé vs Hennessy FAQ
Below are some common questions when it comes to D’ussé vs Hennessy and cognac in general. Many of these questions are answered in the article above.
Does Jay-Z own D’ussé?
Yes. Jay-Z owns 50% of D’ussé.
What type of liquor is Hennessy?
Hennessy is a cognac which is a subset of brandy. Brandy is a liquor distilled from wine, and to be considered a cognac, brandy must be double distilled in copper pot stills, be produced in the Cognac region of France, and aged minimum of 2 years in French oak casks.
How Much Is Hennessy? How Much Is D’ussé?
Hennessy VS typically costs just above the $40 range. Hennessy VSOP costs in the $50-60 range along with D’ussé VSOP. Both Hennessy and D’ussé have options that run $100+ and options that will costs thousands of dollars.