Launched last year, Franco-Japanese sake label HeavenSake positions itself as an alternative to champagne. Initiated by Carl Hirschmann with publisher Benjamin Eymere and Etienne Russo, founder of production company Villa Eugénie, the brand heralded its arrival with the suave and fruity Junmai Daiginjo. Now, nearly a year later, it’s debuting a new launch, which sees blend master Régis Camus (of French maison Piper-Heidsieck fame) join forces with sake house Urakasumi to create the next chapter in HeavenSake’s journey: the Junmai Ginjo.
But the founders are adamant their brand is not just about serving and drinking sake. Each launch is accompanied by a carefully staged ‘cultural event’, a series of gatherings titled ‘A Better High’. Here, the brand eschews traditional tasting rituals while celebrating multidisciplinary craft and showmanship with artistic performances, gastronomy contemporary music and fashion.
See HeavenSake’s launch party last year, featuring a powerful performance of Japanese rope bondage. Warning: NSFW
The second event in the series (produced by Russo and team Villa Eugénie, of course) was staged in the American Cathedral of Paris, and included a performance involving over 1,000 party guests. Just before midnight, attendees donned black pollution masks, to raise awareness for the ticking clock on climate change.
The scene was captured by iconic photographer Massimo Vitali – renowned for his large format images of crowds – who was elevated 5m in the air to capture the sheer scale of the scene. Illuminating the space, a dominating, large-scale faux bonsai tree centrepiece was suspended over the altar/DJ booth, paying homage to the brand’s Japanese heritage and addressing the HeavenSake team's environmental concerns.