On August 6th , 2009 Duke Ellington’s grandson, Edward K. Ellington II, and the Ellington Estate, executed by Paul Ellington, filed a law suit against the makers of Duke Ellington XO Cognac, which was introduced in 2006 by Harbrew Imports, LTD.
The packaging depicts the face and signature of Duke Ellington, a highly influential American Jazz musician and composer. According to the Estate, Harbrew Imports, LTD. did not get permission to use the image or signature of Duke Ellington on the packing or the bottle and Ellington’s Estate commented, saying that they “once attempted to negotiate with [the estate] ... but no agreement was ever reached between the parties1."
According to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac there are three official quality grades of cognac, which are VS (Very Special), VSOP (Very Special, Old Pale), and, the highest quality, XO (Extra Old). The Duke Ellington cognac is a 20-year-old XO blend, and is being sold at $150 dollars for a 750ml bottle.
The Estate and family of the late Duke Ellington are suing for all of the profits from sales of the Duke Ellington XO Cognac. Despite the cognac being a limited release, the high price of one small bottle of this elusive cognac may lead to a rather large lawsuit.
Support Duke Ellington and his estate by buying these classic Duke Ellington Tunes.
By Katelyn Petherbridge