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Bacardi leaps into US Cognac market with D’Ussé launch

Bacardi has launched its long-awaited foray into the US Cognac market with the unveiling of D’Ussé, a luxury VSOP expression that goes on sale in June.

D’Ussé – pronounced [dew-say], the company helpfully told The Spirits Business – is sourced from Château de Cognac, also the home of Bacardi’s Baron Otard brand, which is not currently sold in the US.

Details were unveiled at a private tasting this week for a handful of journalists in New York, where Bacardi USA CEO Robert Furniss-Roe said the aim was to shake up a sector that had become “a bit dusty” under the domination of Hennessy, Rémy Martin, Martell and Courvoisier.

Priced at US$44.99 – roughly on a par with Hennessy VSOP – Bacardi’s new brand will be supported by “fully integrated marketing”, the company said, adding: “The goal is to implement a staggered local market seeding strategy, starting with New York in June and culminating in a national launch in September 2012.”

D’Ussé’s eye-catching packaging, a far cry from the traditional look employed by clear market leaders Hennessy and Rémy, is likely to feature strongly in the brand’s marketing, along with the “unique dry and humid cellars” used for maturing its eaux-de-vie.

“The result is a uniquely powerful, authentic Cognac that starts off with distinguished intensity, which gives way to a pleasantly smooth, balanced finish,” Bacardi said.

Local reports suggest that VS and XO expressions could also be launched in the future, but there is as yet no word on whether D’Ussé will be launched outside the US.

Hennessy currently dominates the US Cognac market with well over half of its sales, heavily skewed towards its youngest expression, VS.

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