Customs is for real!!

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Customs is for real!!
By Don_Walsh on Saturday, May 19, 2001 - 07:59 am: Edit

Frater C., the US FDA regs pertain to thujone per se not to A.absinthium, while the old law (still in force) addresses 'excess' A. absinthium. How an excess is defined or how an assay is made is not specified. However, thujone is flatly prohibited as a food additive on an 'any detectable amount' basis. So a liquor made with an alternative thujone-bearing herb, such as, say, sage, for example, could still run afoul of FDA, although sage is commonly used in foods and FDA does not seem to mind. Obviously, sage sold as a culinary spice has not been dethujonized; the stuff reeks of thujone.

Furthermore the manufacture and import of liquor in USA is under ATF control and ATF regs probably specify a variety of banned liquor ingredients. I have not bothered to read them becasue I am not in USA.

All in all I don't think you have here found the loophole I guess you are looking for.

By Chrysippvs on Friday, May 18, 2001 - 10:21 am: Edit

excess is often legally thought of as any measurable amount. Trust that reg is vague in their favor..not in ours.

By Frater_Carfax on Thursday, May 17, 2001 - 05:06 pm: Edit

Question: The US customs regulations say according to one post:

"The importation of Absinthe and any other liquors or liqueurs that contain an excess of Artemisia absinthium is prohibited."

What is considered an excess?
What if the product is made with another artemesia species? (Ok, maybe it is not "absinthe" but the question stands)

Just my initial observation but there is many a way this could be interpreted...

Has anyone got a quick link to the US Act and Regs you could provide for me to scrutinise?


By Zack on Wednesday, May 16, 2001 - 09:03 pm: Edit


No, thats not my site. But I do love tha Malt Liquor! It gets your girl in tha mood quicka, ya know...

By Heiko on Wednesday, May 16, 2001 - 08:37 pm: Edit

Is that your site Zack?
Now I know why you asked if there's malt liquor in Germany... but I've never seen any, sorry.
If you're looking for cultural equivalents try Apfelkorn (that's how you begin a drinking career), Korn (the grown up version without flavors and sugar), Underberg bitter (the professional drinker's breakfast) or some classical Jägermeister.

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, May 16, 2001 - 07:07 pm: Edit

I was going to make a comment about fingering and now after seeing that picture I'm gonna have to re-enacte a scene from the "Crying Game" and go take a shower. DAMN YOU, I just got out of the shower!!!

By Zack on Wednesday, May 16, 2001 - 06:53 pm: Edit

Head, don't finger it! Cut & Paste the address.

By Head_Prosthesis on Wednesday, May 16, 2001 - 06:41 pm: Edit

An unavailable Geocities page? How uncommon.

Are you sure it's the right link?

By Zack on Wednesday, May 16, 2001 - 05:54 pm: Edit

Just for you, Head:

By _Blackjack on Wednesday, May 16, 2001 - 01:02 am: Edit

OK, I found the letter I got, and it was pretty much what I remembered, but I can see how Mike might have taken it differently. Basically, it says I have the option of either doing nothing, at which point the siezed items will be forfeited to the government in thirty days. It goes into a bunch of detail about how they post notices of seizure at the port of entry the first monday of the first month after the letter, and this may be where Mike go the court date thing. I can also request that the forfeiture porceedings begin immediately. Either way, if I want to fight the forfeiture, I have to either post a bond of 10% of the value of the property but not less that $250. I also can apply for administrative relief if I can't afford the bond. All of this is moot for a small item, especially one that isn't allowed anyway.

There was a "Penalty Information" section at the very end, where there were check boxes to mark /b{if} there was any additional civil penalty being assessed. It was not checked off on any of mine and I suspect it wasn't on Mike's either. I can see how it might scare somebody, but it's not a big deal. Customs has much bigger fish to fry.

I would like to point out that shipping liquor over state lines within the US, or having it shipped, is still illegal in many states, so you can't say ordering from Betty is 100% risk-free just because customs is out of the picture. It's unlikely anything will happen other than the bottle disappearing, but that's true of international shipments too.

I'm not attacking Betty, BTW. I don't really care one way or the other. I just don't want people to have any unreasonible fear of customs. If I had some cash to burn, I might consider paying her price for some Oxygenee, but by the time I've recovered from paying my taxes, the Jade products will hopefully be out. Don's working harder for my money, and he's got little dominatrices to feed...

By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 10:02 pm: Edit

it's easy click on the Formatting link it will explain

By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 10:01 pm: Edit

Apcking DAMN DAMN DAMN !!!

Do not drink and post!

By Zack on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 10:00 pm: Edit

Damn, I wish I knew how to post pic's on here...

By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 10:00 pm: Edit

Packing that's when you implement the use of alternative "packing materials" for shipping.

By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 09:48 pm: Edit

One time this guy on ebay sent me a package with a whole bunch of crap in it that he used for apcking. It looked like he dumped his waste basket into it. There were check stubs, and bits of things he had printed from the internet. The best part though was the filthy dirty Looney Tunes T-shirt that was in there. It was one of those shirts like you might find at the Hash Bash in Ann Arbor. Along the lines of "Tokeman" all the Looney Tunes characters were high and smoking pot... When I mentioned it to the guy he had no idea what I was talking about...

that sure does happen allot?

By _Blackjack on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 09:17 pm: Edit

I am skeptical. I'm not making any accusations regarding anybody's idenetity, because I don't knwo and don't really care. But I HAVE had packages seized by customs. Not absinthe, but stuff significantly less legal. They have different forms for different commonly-smuggled items, but they say about the same thing. The inform you that something has been siezed, and tell you what laws say you can't bring it in. You are given instructions on how to contest the seizure (which vary depending on what it is) or to simply ignore it and in 90 days they will dispose of it. I'll check my papers when I get home, but I think any mention of penalties was in the citation of the regulations. There was no implication that customs would take further action unless you did. And I certainly don't remember any mention of a specific court date. In fact, I seem to remember that you had to put down a bond (far exceeding the value of the acutal items) to even get a hearing.

LIke I said, I'll double check when I get home. Mike may just not have understood what he was reading. The forms I got were in legalese. But I've had a few things siezed and nobody official has ever bothered me. I did have the secret service show up at my door once, but they were doing a background check for an ex-neighbor who was getting a job at the Treasury.

I would advise people NOT to contact customs if something like happens. You're just drawing attention to yourself. If anybody asks, you have no idea where this package was coming from or why it had been sent to you.

Mike is right that they send you you empty package with the letter in it. It's kind of charming, really, like even if you can't get the contents, you can still enjoy the lovely Gibraltan newspaper scraps...

By Head_Prosthesis on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 07:21 pm: Edit


By Artemis on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 06:17 pm: Edit

"Artemis> I have several e-mail accounts as well.
It would be easier to get your IP address from here and use a DNS to discover your internet provider or the company you work at."

I meant that I had several *anonymous* email accounts and can set more up and/or discard them as I please. But I agree, and that's what meant about it being easier to find us through our browsing - I never had any fear of anybody finding me through the anonymous email address I sometimes provided here (before anybody here actually knew my identity) because it would be next to impossible. But finding any of us through Kallisti would be an easy matter for someone with access to the appropriate legal processes.

By Mr_Rabbit on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 03:23 pm: Edit

I can't wait for peek a booty.

The cow people made my life personally harder with back orifice, but I will forgive them every sin if'n this pans out :-)

In english for the non-geek: some hacker folks are coming our with a browser gizmo intended to make it really really hard for anyone to track you down of find out your browsing habits.

By Germanandy on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 03:13 pm: Edit


i don't know if it's true or not, you and some others are the right persons to know this.
just thought it was interestening.
the german customs don't care about absinthe, that's for sure!!!


By Terminus on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 03:01 pm: Edit

Artemis> I have several e-mail accounts as well.

It would be easier to get your IP address from here and use a DNS to discover your internet provider or the company you work at.

By Artemis on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:51 pm: Edit

"Even e-mail addy's aren't anonymous."

Not true. Some are completely anonymous. I know, I have several of them. But there is a serious learning curve in setting them up and maintaining them. Remaining anonymous from a serious and resourceful opponent (read: Big Brother) while using a web browser is a whole different matter, and more difficult to do.

Also, in my reference to "common as dirt" or whatever, I did not mean to include La Fee or La Bleue, which are not common and not easy to come by in the U.S. For most people in the U.S., Betty is the only option for La Fee and I found her to be a satisfactory option for that product myself.

By Terminus on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:46 pm: Edit

Has anyone tried

By Heiko on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:21 pm: Edit

I must add:

Nothing against both of you, Bob or Head - just keep on fighting the "chonger-wars", I always find it very amusing ;-)

By Terminus on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:21 pm: Edit

I sent you an e-mail, "Mike."

Let's end this charade now.

By Heiko on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:14 pm: Edit

"If you don't like her prices don't buy from her."
Well, that's what I do.

I don't find the general vibe bad in any ways. When I first posted I was pleased how nice everyone was (and still is) - except maybe for some temporary outbreaks (I have to blame myself the most for a recent outbreak...).
But that's ok. If Bob makes fun of you (as he apparently is the master of Betina-"bashing"), be sure you find somebody else who is on your side (call for Head and he'll be there with a big, massive "Chonger" ;-))

By Melinelly on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:13 pm: Edit

mike, the only one on this thread to attack you and assume that you are betty is terminus... and he's not usually one to be taken too seriously anyhoo ;)

sorry if i came across as attacking you, i only meant to slight the obvious tactics Betty does take in using the occasional one-time-posting-name to drop some kind words about her services and products (vis a vis the thread on La bleue and Bettina).

if i were to plop down $200 for a bottle of swiss la bleue, i would contact betty given what i've heard of her service from people off the boards.

until there is another viable domestic distributor of la bleue (now that bei stopped), betty's the way to go... but her prices on anything other than la bleue and la fee (given their relative difficulty to obtain in the US) are ridiculous considering the relatively safe and readily available alternatives.

yes, customs is real. you aren't the only one on these boards to receive an empty package. but for regular drinkers, it's more economical to order from cheaper sources abroad and risk it.

By Mike on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:09 pm: Edit

thank you


By Tabreaux on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:00 pm: Edit


That website is ridiculous, and the information is completely wrong. Whomever wrote that is talking out of their backside. All you have to do is go to the U.S. Customs website and find the following phrase:

"The importation of Absinthe and any other liquors or liqueurs that contain an excess of Artemisia absinthium is prohibited."

By Mike on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:57 pm: Edit

they didn't and still don't believe that I am

not Betty. And I quit posting before because of

the bashing, not necessarily on myself just the

general vibe on this board.

And really?? why attack Betty? If you don't like

her prices don't buy from her. If you know where

to get it cheaper, the Swiss not spanish... then

speak or type up. The condemnation gets old!!!


By Heiko on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:49 pm: Edit

Oh come on - nobody can be so sensitive that this was already too much for you, Mike.

Posts from people who appear once and praise Bettina are usually "attacked" (if you call this an attack).

btw I can't see that anybody in this thread attacked Mike - only Betty. Isn't it strange you take that personal?

By Terminus on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:41 pm: Edit

Bye, Mike.

By Mike on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:33 pm: Edit

I'm with Marc.I'm sure to not post for a bit now. Good tactic, attack a person so they don't return to post again. I was just stating my experience and seemed to have blown on the fire.


the non-imposter

By Germanandy on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:29 pm: Edit

i found this site yesterday, take a look.

By Mike on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:24 pm: Edit

I got the holy grail reference from the book Absinthe, history in a bottle from B. Conrad who also ended up with Swiss if I'm not mistaken.


By Terminus on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:13 pm: Edit

Marc> No one is anonymous on the internet.

Even e-mail addy's aren't anonymous.

By Marc on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:11 pm: Edit

who gives a shit about the imposter? Its those of us who post without the protection of anonymity who stand to suffer if the hounds come sniffing around. Lets not bait them.

This is my last post in this worthless thread.

By Terminus on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:10 pm: Edit

((If you get caught, they make you pay the tax. It's about as serious as j-walking.))

They hold the product until you pay duty tax on it.

By Anatomist1 on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:08 pm: Edit

Funny, I seem to remember that "holy grail" phrase from one of Betty's email advertisements... Something about La Bleue being the holy grail of absinthes. Pretty sad.

However, you guys are waxing a bit hysterical with all that talk about accessory to crime, etc... Importing a bottle or two for yourself or your friends is just a minor tax evasion. If you get caught, they make you pay the tax. It's about as serious as j-walking.


By Terminus on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:07 pm: Edit

I would never side with the IRS or US Customs about anything.

I promise you that if the imposter posts stop, I'll stop.

Blame, Mike and Larsbogart.

((you shouldn't be bashing betty for what she does, only how she does it =) or you might get us all in trouble *grin*))

I have no problems with Betty except for her deception, price gouging and scare tactics.

She makes war profiteers look honorable.

By Melinelly on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 12:57 pm: Edit

Term, bashing and flames are one thing. psuedo-threats are another.

every one of us is accessory to a crime when we order absinthe and have it delivered to our homes or when we have friends or relatives bring back a bottle or three from vacations or when we meet in nola or austin or elsewhere to imbibe.

you shouldn't be bashing betty for what she does, only how she does it =) or you might get us all in trouble *grin*

By Marc on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 12:38 pm: Edit


US Customs and the IRS do not need your help in determining who is breaking their laws. If you want to help them, apply for the job. Don't use the forum to point out who may be involved with criminal activity.

By Marc on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 12:20 pm: Edit

okay guys, stop playing junior G-Men. You may not like Betty, but siding with customs and the IRS is pretty disgusting. Its malicious.

By Terminus on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 11:57 am: Edit

I think the IRS would be interested in all that unreported income as well.

By Terminus on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 11:54 am: Edit

Hey Betty>

If you are going to impersonate others, you need to leave out the hard returns and single spacing that all of your "supporters" seem to use.

Anyway, Betty has the most to fear from US Customs because she runs a smuggling operation.

It is not worth it for US Customs to go after a single bottle importer who is purchasing for his/her own use.

However, an enterprise where Betty's mules are smuggling Swiss La Bleu and La Fee into the US might interest customs.

By Mike on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 11:29 am: Edit

I have not posted in here for a while but still pop in often to see what's up. I stopped posting because of the bashing that takes place here.
My name is Mike, not Betina or a made up name. I do not wish to offend and do not wish to be bashed but I can take here goes.
I started drinking absinthe about a year ago. It became a quest to receive this "holy grail" of a drink which it is! I placed my 1st order with Sebors because I was informed that this would be a good source to start with.
With many unreturned e-mails I finally received my box, completely torn apart and retaped back together with bright yellow tape that was marked US Customs, not to mention a very puzzled look from my postal carrier.
Immediately I opened it to find some very official letters that stated I had illegally purchased absinthe which contains wormwood or thujone and it explained that those things were illegal in the U.S.
It went on to give my Penalty Information. By this time I was shocked. I had yet to even taste absinthe and was being persecuted and maybe even prosecuted for this. It spoke of all my options. which included forfeiture, fines and even mentioned a court date if I wanted to protest.
Anyway, (this was supposed to be short) I started calling people. Finally getting through to someone who knew what I was talking about after talking to countless people for god knows how long. I was very worried by this time.
I was let off with some forfeiture paperwork filed and without a fine because I played stupid about my Single Bottle order and the nice customs lady seemed to like my yes maam's and no maam's. Though she did say that if I was caught shipping again I was assured a fine.
I'm not here to praise or condemn, just stating the facts. Yes I am a customer of Betina and will continue to purchase my Swiss from her.
Just passing on an experience.

Good Luck to all!

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