Culling Song

Last Exit to Bronkhorstspruit Vol. 3: A Dram Fine Bunch of Fellows

Written by André Meyer (Culling Song)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 14 May 2013 at 09:48

I had originally planned to talk about the new (and final instalment in the New History Warfare trilogy) Colin Stetson album, but when I think about what to say I feel kind of like the apes in the opening scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey – Confounded. Intimidated. Confronted by something beyond my frame of reference, but that I feel compelled to get close to. And completely at a loss for words.

So instead, I’ve decided to opt for something a little more fun, a little more light-hearted, and a lot more relevant to the title of this website. You’ve often seen wines or whiskies being paired with specific foods; here now is Culling Song’s pairing of whisky with Sharks players.

Note to Sharks players: I don’t know any of you. I don’t have you as Facebook friends. I don’t follow you on Twitter. I don’t interact with you on Google+ or MySpace or Tumblr or any of the myriad other social networking sites that abound. The descriptions listed below are broadly based on public perception. Yes, they’re probably not accurate. Yes, they’re probably stereotypical. But it’s all in the name of fun, so see it as such. Also, if you’re not listed below, it’s not that I don’t like you. Or don’t rate you. It’s just that I don’t think of you in whisky terms. It’s me, not you, OK? OK.

The player – Beast Mtawarira: Beast is a player that has popularised front row play with the masses. Affable, popular, hugely accomplished and highly watchable.
The whisky – Glenfiddich 12 Year Old: The single malt that started the revolution, and introduced single malt to the masses. As the biggest selling single malt in the world, it is popular, approachable and highly drinkable.

The player – Bismarck du Plessis: Combative and uncompromising, Bismarck epitomises the modern hooker, combining traditional qualities like strength and physicality with ball-pilfering skills and an unparalleled work rate around the park.
The whisky – Talisker Storm: Talisker Storm epitomises the modern trend towards no age statement whiskies, combining the bold, robust flavours of the traditional 10 year old with some punchier, youthful elements for an unparalleled taste explosion.

The player – Pieter-Steph du Toit: One of the youngest members of the Sharks squad, the young lock is already attracting comparisons to greats like Mark Andrews and Bakkies Botha with his all-round abilities and robust physicality.
The whisky – Kilchoman Machir Bay: Established in 2005, Kilchoman is the newest (in fact, first new distillery to be built in 124 years) distillery in Islay. While still very much lacking in maturation, the robust peaty flavours of the initial offerings from Kilchoman are already attracting comparisons to the great (and now defunct) Port Ellen distillery.

The player – Keegan Daniel: While lacking the physique typically required of a loose forward, Keegan compensates (notwithstanding 2013 form) through pace, sublime skills and a peerless feel for the game. While he may not appeal to all, he’s undoubtedly the type of player who, when on song, can turn a game, and would probably been a regular member of the Bok squad had it not been for our national coaches well-documented size prejudice.
The whisky – Compass Box Spice Tree: While lacking their own distillery, the folks at Compass box compensate through the innovative treatment of other distillery’s malts. While not finding universal favour (the Spice Tree was initially banned by the Scotch Whisky Association over the post-maturation use of toasted oak staves), Compass Box has nonetheless caused a stir in the market place, and the Spice Tree cracked the World Whisky of the Year shortlist.

The player – Willem Alberts: With his direct approach and superhuman strength, Willem Alberts regularly leaves a lasting impression (and bruised and battered bodies) in his wake.
The whisky – Big Peat Cask Strength: With a phenol content hovering around the 50ppm, and alcohol levels of 58% ABV, Big Peat is not for the casual whisky drinker; even brief contact leaves a lasting impression (and aching head) in its wake.

The player – Pat Lambie: Able to execute all four key facets of flyhalf play (kicking, passing, running, defense) with equal aplomb, Pat additionally manages to marry the fearlessness of youth with a composure that belies his age.
The whisky – Johnny Walker Green Label: Blending four fine single malts (Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore, Caol Ilha) with aplomb, Green Label additionally manages to infuse these stately components with an undeniable youthful exuberance.

The player – Frans Steyn: Freakishly talented, but prone to divide public opinion with his weight issues and perceived petulance, he is nonetheless a proven match winner.
The whisky – Ardbeg 10 Year Old: Brilliantly constructed single malt that may appeal to limited segments of the market owing to its heavy, brooding character, but is nonetheless a World Whisky of the Year winner.

The player – Lwazi Mvovo: Initially attracting attention with his blistering pace, Lwazi has since worked on other aspects of his game, and while it’s still his finishing abilities that he’s renowned for, he’s very much the finished product.
The whisky – Bruichladdich Octomore: initially gaining notoriety for the blistering phenol content (130ppm+!), successive releases have seen a more balanced character emerge, even as the phenols have climbed a notch or two.

The player – JP Pietersen: Converted from lock, the tall wing was initially known for his perplexing ability to score tries from impossible positions at will, but being unable to execute basic like catching a ball passed gently into his bread basket. In the interim, JP set about developing his game to become the best defensive-, and later best wing in the world, period. Often looks to not be taking things too seriously, he is nonetheless one class act.
The whisky – Glenmorangie Original: Created in the tallest stills in the world, and described by noted whisky scribe Jim Murray as “complexity at its most complex”. With a strong vanilla, honey and floral character, this is a fun, easy-going whisky that is nonetheless a class act.

And now, just to stir the pot a bit…

The whisky – Johnny Walker Blue Label: Blended from some seriously good whiskies, this still somehow fails to leave any lasting impression. Over-hyped and over-priced, this triumph of marketing over quality only thrives in the market-place due to its finding of favour with the young, connected elite.
The player – Pierre Spies: Blessed with speed, strength, and a physique almost as impressive as my own, Pierre nonetheless fails to leave any lasting impression on the rugby field. Over-hyped and under-achieving, he only continues to feature due to his being BFF with the Bok coach.

The whisky – Johnny Walker Double Black: Faced with a niche in the market due to the rising popularity of whisky and increased demand for more distinctive, smoky offerings, the guys at Johnny Walker decided to reconstitute the ingredients of the well-loved Black Label, and age it further in charred oak barrels. In the process, they managed to eliminate all the charm of the traditional Black, and produce a whisky as multi-faceted as a sheet of paper.
The player – Morne Steyn: Faced with the need for a backup to Derick Hougaard, the guys at the Bulls decided to recondition their running flyhalf into a kicking robot. ‘Nuff said.

The whisky – Bains Cape Mountain Whisky: One-dimensional home-grown fare that has won awards for single-grain whiskies. Which is like winning the academic prize in the special class.
The player – Duane Vermeulen: A yawn-inducingly one-dimensional player that has nonetheless been called up to the Bok squad by coach Heyneke “I like ‘em big, strong and dumb” Meyer. I rest my case.

From the Bronks, slainte!


  • Brilliant stuff CS..

    This really went down well!

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.05.13 09:50:38 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • What do you do for a day job CS? Something that involves creative writing?

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.05.13 09:56:55 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 2) : Engineering manager in the alloys industry; pretty much as far removed from creative writing as you can get!

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.05.13 10:21:58 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • I laughed, I cried, I imagined the pissed off Bulls and Stormers fans!

    Great read, as always, CS. 😆

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.05.13 10:31:07 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • @Culling Song (Comment 3) : Hey – engineers are creative people in the sense of solving problems. However the writing bit is usually lacking.

    I can only guess you took the industrial option – closest thing to a BA in engineering 😀

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.05.13 10:31:36 by Bokhoring Reply
  • Brilliant – next challenge – a song for every player

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.05.13 10:43:32 by Saffex Reply

  • @Bokhoring (Comment 5) : Industrial *spit*… Mechanical actually, though now I look after mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, civil, civil unrest, etc.

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.05.13 10:55:13 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 7) : Good choice – only the cream of engineering do pure mechanical

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.05.13 10:57:39 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 8) : Clearly you are a gent of intelligence and distinction! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.05.13 11:04:11 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • Great article!

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.05.13 11:04:56 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • ‘Pierre Spies: Blessed with speed, strength, and a physique almost as impressive as my own’

    Bwahahahahahah…….bwahahahahahahaha…..breath……..bwahahahahahahahahahaha….. 😆

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.05.13 11:12:38 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 11) :

    I broke the site laughing so much. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 12, posted at 14.05.13 11:21:27 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 11) : I don’t get it…? Is there a joke somehere in there that I have overlooked?

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.05.13 11:31:01 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 13) : no.

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.05.13 11:38:07 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Loved every letter of it!

    And now I crave the golden burn.

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.05.13 12:36:54 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @Bokhoring (Comment 5) : @Culling Song (Comment 7) : Ek sal julle manne moet vasvat damnit! Ek en Viking in fact, albei industrial engineers!

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.05.13 12:38:10 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @Big Fish (Comment 4) : I imagined Jaco van der Westhuizen as a Three Ships.

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.05.13 13:14:05 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • Kyle Cooper would be Black Grouse- Damn good value for money!

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.05.13 13:18:11 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @rhineshark (Comment 17) : Three Ships is far, far too classy to be associated with Wacko vd Westhuizen – and I’m referring to the utterly undrinkable 3 year old…

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.05.13 13:25:03 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 19) : I stand corrected. That is, fortunately, the worst whiskey I personally know…

    except Lagavulin.

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.05.13 15:39:38 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @rhineshark (Comment 20) : If you didn’t like Lagavulin you will also hate Ardberg.

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.05.13 15:50:23 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @Pokkel (Comment 21) : Thanks for the heads-up. Will steer well clear then. 😀

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.05.13 15:53:40 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @rhineshark (Comment 20) : Avoid Lagavulin, Arbeg (except the Blasda), Laphroaig, Port Ellen, Bruichladdich, Bowmore, Dalwhinnie, Kilchoman, Caol Ilha, Black Bottle, Black Grouse, Big Peat, Connemara, and possibly Talisker. There might be more, that’s just off the top of my head.

    Btw, were you the one raving about Kanonkop Paul Sauer a few months ago?

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.05.13 16:22:10 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @Culling Song (Comment 23) : Yes. Had a 1989 with a buddy of mine a few years ago. Sublime!

    Actually a sad story. We hadn’t seen each other for 20 years. I went to SA and we made a point of getting together. Drank Kanonkop all night around the hardekool fire talking shit and being philosophical. He died a few months late from a heart attack.

  • Comment 24, posted at 14.05.13 16:39:38 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @rhineshark (Comment 24) : Hectic!

    I was given a bottle of 2008 for my 40th, and now I’m waiting for an opportune moment to open it. I don’t hold with that “save it for a special occasion” nonsense, but I do feel that a wine this fine should be shared over a good meal, at leisure

  • Comment 25, posted at 14.05.13 20:40:16 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • Absolutely Brilliant! 😆

  • Comment 26, posted at 15.05.13 08:15:21 by Just a Fan Reply

    Just a Fan
  • @Culling Song (Comment 25) : I’m with you there. Just drink it, as long as it accompanies a fine morsel of red meat – maybe something in the line of perfectly rare Gemsbok fillet with a marula jelly glaze.

    I have tried many a time to start a red wine collection, but ironically my love for the stuff has hampered every effort thus far.

    You’ll see on the back of the Kanonkop bottle is a kind of aging chart running to 20 years and beyond, with 20 years the optimal time to drink the Paul Sauer. When we drank the ’89 it was 2009. I wish I had the words… 😎

  • Comment 27, posted at 15.05.13 09:28:41 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • @Culling Song (Comment 25) : I think we need to organise something, either in Bronkies, my place, or at Bossie’s. Every man to bring a drink to wow the others. That way we will know that the hungover was truly worth it.

  • Comment 28, posted at 15.05.13 10:33:10 by King Shark Reply
    King Shark
  • @rhineshark (Comment 27) : I very much doubt my Kanonkop will survive to the 20 year mark…

    I’ve found it’s easier to start a whisky collection than a wine collection. A bottle of wine, once opened, last one sitting. A bottle of whisky, once opened, lasts …er… As I was saying, I’ve found it easier to start a stamp collection…

  • Comment 29, posted at 15.05.13 12:22:22 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • @King Shark (Comment 28) : Sounds good! I’m pretty screwed in terms of weekends for the next 4 weeks or so, courtesy of work, but then life will hopefully normalise a bit

  • Comment 30, posted at 15.05.13 12:24:20 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.