Couple worried for rum business after catching Covid and losing sense of smell

A couple who started a rum distillery in lockdown were worried their career path would be taken away after they lost their sense of taste and smell due to covid.

Mum-of-two Becky Hunt, 31, and husband Matt, 34, started making booze last year at their home in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire.
Matt had been made redundant from his job as a pilot in March 2020 and they started rum brand Old Mother Hunt as an alternative career path.

On July 15 the couple both got covid after having one jab, and lost their sense of taste and smell.

Becky said: “We all contracted Covid at the same time so it was quite intense having to look after the children while we were also feeling poorly.”

“We’d both only had one vaccination at that point.”

“The hardest part about having Covid was the anxiety and uncertainty.”

“It’s difficult to be calm and relaxed about a virus that’s caused a global pandemic.”

“Being constantly bombarded by negative and frightening headlines over the past 18 months takes its toll.”

“When the infection first started, it didn’t seem that bad, just like a really heavy cold but it soon progressed.”

“It seemed like every day I developed a new symptom.”

“I had every symptom you could think of – rash, headaches, fever, cough, anosmia, aches and pains, blocked sinuses and fatigue.”

“Matt didn’t seem to suffer quite as much.”

“I didn’t realise how exhausted I was until I was hanging out the washing and had to take a break half way through!”

“I’m used to being tired as our four-year-old still doesn’t sleep through the night but this was ridiculous.”

“The breathlessness was also incredibly frustrating and quite frightening as there has been so much coverage of covid developing into pneumonia that it was always on my mind.”

“I’m incredibly grateful that the children didn’t suffer very much with it.”

“The anosmia was one of the later symptoms to develop and we both just desperately hoped that it wouldn’t last very long.”

“It was such a relief to be able to smell things again and when we smelt the coffee beans roasting, we felt it was a sign to crack on with the new flavour.”

“We’d read that anosmia was often linked to mild cases so although it was incredibly frustrating to lose our sense of smell and taste, I was secretly a bit relieved as I hoped it meant the infection would be mild.”

“Matt struggled the most with the anosmia as it meant he couldn’t work in his new career and was painfully reminiscent of his pilot career being taken away from him last year.”

“We kept all fingers and toes crossed that it would eventually come back.”

“We could see a gap in the market for a coffee and chocolate flavour rum that was dry in taste and were raring to get going with that.”

“But we didn’t know when our taste and smell were going to come back, which could have put a real spanner in the works as having a good ‘nose’ is vital.”

“So were delighted walking past our local ethically sourced coffee roaster one morning and found we could smell the roasted beans and were overjoyed.”

“It was a case of wake up and smell the coffee”.

Old Mother Hunt Rum – The couple poured their savings into a rum distillery as an alternative career path.

Wasting no time, Becky put in an order with Fower owner Stuart Jamieson, for Guatemalan beans – known for their chocolatey-cocoa flavour, and toffee-like sweetness – to infuse in the rum.

Now the first batch of the rum which is also infused with cacao nibs, has been bottled and ready to drink and are available in 20cl and 50cl bottles.

Becky added: “We’ve had the chance to do some mixing and come up with an espresso rum martini that really packs a punch and a rum hot chocolate which is deliciously indulgent,” added Becky.

“We are excited about what the next few months will bring.”

“Rum is one of the fastest growing alcohol sectors in the UK as well as being interesting to make and full of flavour.”

“The advantages of small batch production means, we can develop our own bespoke recipes and flavours and ensure that taste is consistent for our customers.”

“Back in March 2020 when Matt was made redundant, things felt all very bleak.”

“So, I’m thrilled something good has come out of such a difficult time.”

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