The Balvenie brings a high-powered telescope and exclusive Whisky cocktails to Shangri-La’s Blu Bar (Sydney)

  • Chris Singh
  • February 28, 2016
  • Comments Off on The Balvenie brings a high-powered telescope and exclusive Whisky cocktails to Shangri-La’s Blu Bar (Sydney)

A dizzying 36 floors above Sydney, atop the famous Shangri-La Hotel, now sits a one-of-a-kind handcrafted telescope thanks the team behind single malt The Balvenie. From March 1st to April 10th, the masterfully crafted telescope, which has been handmade by Mark Turner of Moonraker Telescopes and master wood maker Paul Cruickshank-Inns, will be facing the harbour-bridge side of the lavish Blu Bar, after which it will continue to be exhibited in a series of exclusive bars and restaurants across Australia throughout the year.

Image supplied


It’s all part of the The Balvenie Commission initiative, a program which creates these collaborations between makers all over the world, developed to display The Balvenie’s commitment to craftmanship. Previous projects have included collaborations with classic car-makers Morgan Motor Company, humidor maker Daniel Marshall, and Scottish wood craftsman Sam Chinnery. This telescope is perhaps their most ambitious yet, with the ability to look far beyond the beautiful postcard-esque scene of Sydney into the night sky, Blu Bar being the perfect place to position this creation seeing as the space has that stunning, all-encompassing view coupled with the bar, which delivers several exclusive cocktail creations alongside their regular menu.


“The five crafts of The Balvenie range truly epitomize hand craftmanship”, said Mark Little, Marketing Manager of The Balvenie. “We wanted to create an experience to amplify this and have seared across the world to bring together some of the finest examples of modern day craftspeople plying their trades the old-fashioned way”.



Blu Bar’s new “Liquid Physics” cocktail range just launched as well, so it’s a good time to head on up to the space to sip on some beautifully made concoctions while taking a turn using the telescope, which boasts a gorgeous copper exterior inspired by the tills at The Balvenie’s distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. Premium quality fittings make this telescope just as incredible to look at as look through, standing on a distinctive handmade oak tripod for a grand appearance.


Part of the new cocktail range has seen the expert bar staff create some exclusive Whisky cocktails, one of which is called the Forgotten Innocence with The Balvenie 12yo double cask, pisco, lemon, sugar, and a Balvenie syrup made to mirror the profile of the 12yo – honey, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The cocktails will be designed to have a sense of theatre to them, with this one being a great example because it comes with a tea strainer which is filled with dry ice, so you’ll get quite a show when pouring it into the cocktail glass, having it look like a bubbling Whisky cauldron. The taste is incredible, fashioned more as a dessert cocktail with the taste of a classic carrot and cinnamon cake and the smooth finish of the Balvenie tying it all together.

New cocktails are also being planned for The Balvenie 17yo doublewood and The Balvenie 14yo Caribbean Cask, rolling out over the six weeks Blu Bar has the telescope for.

Following it’s time in Sydney the telescope will then move to Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, where it will be featured for 6-8 weeks per location.

For updates on the telescopes location throughout the year join Warehouse 24 at

Note that the telescope is unpacked when the sun goes down. Since our visit was still during sun up, the telescope was packed away in it’s custom made box.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.