Cinnamon, mint, coffee, lemon grass: A delicious, Seychelles' way to do alcohol
Renato Longobardi, the man behind the La Buse production posing next to his kiosk at the Duty Free. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The natural flavours of Seychelles – cinnamon, mint, and passion fruit among them – can be found in your favorite alcohol.
That’s the delicious secret behind the rum, whisky and tequila made by Renato Longobardi, an Italian who has been leaving in Seychelles for over two decades.
Before settling in Seychelles in 1993, Longobardi used to visit the Seychelles archipelago as a tourist. He enjoyed Seychelles’ pure environment and wanted to blend his knowledge of liquor-making with the natural plant extracts found on the islands.
|One for your pocket. Longobardi showing off his one of a kind hip flask. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
“Seychelles is still a pure nation. There is no disastrous rainfall or natural disasters like greatly polluted seas. In the economy of Seychelles there are a lot of natural products,” says Longobardi.
Longobardi says he learnt the practice of making liquor with monks from the Vatican when he was just a young man living in Italy.
He tells SNA that the monks had experience in making chocolates, wine, sweets, liquor as well as honey harvesting.
Longobardi started La Buse Manufacturing with cocktail drinks as well as liquor but he later moved to making spirit drinks and aphrodisiacs.
|A display of Black Rum made in Seychelles at Longobardi's kiosk. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
His produce is yeast- and methanol-free and he believes it is of high quality that doesn’t bring much harm to the health. According to Longobardi, the primary alcohol which he buys from Mauritius has been distilled four times which makes it a premium quality alcohol.
“I wanted to bring something of better quality to Seychelles. To give quality one needs to start small. Some people want money fast and do not take time to check the quality,” says Longobardi.
When the alcohol reaches the shores of Seychelles, all the remaining procedures and products used are found locally, he said. Longobardi blends local flavours with his drinks such as lemon grass, mandarin, coffee, curacao blu, coco, white and black cacao, passion fruits, mint and cinnamon.
|Nothing more natural. Cinnamon bark and leafs, lemon grass and vanilla pods are placed inside the liquor bottles. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
This gives a unique island taste to his rum, whisky, sambuka and tequila. They carry a special charm on their thin bottles with cork covers as well as other bottling designs that recall the days that pirates roamed the seas.
The Seychelles-flavoured drinks are mostly exported to Tanzania, the U.S., France and Britain. He makes on average of 450,000 bottles per year.
Seychellois and visitors landing on the main island of Mahe can buy La Buse alcohol at Longobardi’s shop at Seychelles International Airport. Prices range from 22 to 273 US Dollars.
|SNA presents a collection of photos taken at the La buse Liquor shop at the Duty Free. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|