Confiscated bottle

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Dec 2000:Confiscated bottle
By Bluedog1 on Thursday, December 21, 2000 - 05:47 am: Edit

Auuuugh! Crap on a Cracker!!!

Sorry everyone, I meant

My eyes! My eyes!

By _blackjack_ on Thursday, December 21, 2000 - 03:06 am: Edit

I'm not going to look...I'm not going to look...I'm not going to look...EWWWWW!

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 08:26 pm: Edit

Yeah, I made that mistake! But not such a bad mistake as when I was looking for the web site of The Waterboys (AngloIrish folk band). There is one hell of a difference between and!

By Tavis on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 06:07 pm: Edit

Nooooooo! Don't go to fuckyou.COM, not if you're at work anyway. Unless you're the MD obviously.

By Bluedog1 on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 01:50 pm: Edit

Hadn't thought of Christmas presents of addresses. Whew! Now I won't be bothered with last minute shopping and can put my money into absinthe where it belongs.

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 03:16 am: Edit

Some countries (top level domains on the InterNIC) allow anyone to buy their domain names, hence all the one-click, one stop registrars for 100+ countries. And that doesn't count the freemail providers like the one in question.

Not all top level domains are so easy, though. In Thailand only a Thai corporation or partnership can own a .th domain name. And .th email addresses are only available from Thai ISP's and to Internet account holders resident in Thailand.

Don't be fooled by (email provider gives you That's on a US server.

By Absinthedrinker on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 02:37 am: Edit

What a great idea for a Christmas present. that'll impress the family!

By Artemis on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 02:27 am: Edit

I know it's *possible* for a U.S. resident to get a UK email address. I could make my email address read anything I want it to read, but I usually don't go to that trouble. My question to the troll was actually rhetorical. I try to stick to a strict "don't feed the trolls" policy. They need a steady diet of attention, without which they wither and die.

By Bluedog1 on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 01:54 am: Edit

It's a free email service. There are hundreds of free email services out there. Just go to and sign up. You can have a UK email address too.

Domain Name: FUCKYOU.CO.UK
Registered For: Ben Metcalfe
Domain Registered By: WEBCONSULTANCY
Registered on 30-Nov-1998.
Record last updated on 05-Dec-2000 by
Domain servers listed in order:

WHOIS database last updated at 12:10:01 20-Dec-2000

By Black_rabbit on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 01:01 am: Edit

well... I could get a .uk address in fifteen minutes, and I live in the US... I wouldn't put too much stock in the country code used, ever.

By Bluedog1 on Wednesday, December 20, 2000 - 12:49 am: Edit

It could be where the package enters the USPS and how busy/diligent the Postal Inspectors are. SC shipments coming to the DC area enter the USPS at New York (notoriously busy), whereas it appears the confiscations in question entered the USPS through Texas.

Might also be added diligence due to the holidays because that's when lots of "contraband" tends to enter the US. I remember a news item a few years ago around the holidays showing how the Postal Inspectors and Customs were cracking down on fake name-brand toys coming from Asia.

There is also a move afoot to more closely control spirits being sent via the USPS thanx in no large part to online wine and liquor vendors being caught by the media sending product to underage clients.

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 11:47 pm: Edit

If so, is Radomil the Before or After poster boy for Hills?

By Tavis on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 11:36 pm: Edit

maybe absinthe is the catalyst? Or maybe Hill's is the catalyst?

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 11:28 pm: Edit

Hey, I was just asking. It would have explained the UK email address.

By Tavis on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 11:20 pm: Edit

If the two Martins are one and the same, that would entail a transformation of Jekyll-Hyde proportions.

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 10:53 pm: Edit

Shrug. Happens every day. If the common carriers spent their time getting pissed off about this they would have no time for anything else.

There are little violations of the terms and conditions, and there are big violations of the terms and conditions. Just as there are misdemeanors and there are felonies.

There are now how many vendors routinely shipping absinthe this way? I am not specifying their various tradecrafts. But there are several Spanish and several Czech and several in UK, only one I know of doesn't ship to US and that's eabsinthe -- hello martin, you wouldn't happen to have an email address at would you?

I have heard nothing about the various national postal authorities, transport ministries, common carriers and other relevant entities geting upset with any of them.

So I don't expect any problems, either. All this fussing about the issue was generated by the D.L. (thanks, Bob C!) to scare people into paying her prices. But even she is violating her common carriers' T&Cs. I know she won't ship USPS. She told me so herself. Yes once upon a time I did try to do a little business with Betty. A long time ago.

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 10:01 pm: Edit

I don't think it is too much of a problem for a private individual sending contraband but I could imagine a mail company getting extremely pissed off with a company that persistently sent wrongly labelled goods in breach of its T&C. You just have to read the T&C to see that they can prosecute, fine etc, etc and there really is no come back for the sender because they sign a declaration that the parcel contains no prohibited substances. At best they would be barred from using that carrier at worst sued.

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 08:57 pm: Edit

and Tavis, parcel post IS the USPS. So is EMS.

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 08:55 pm: Edit

Since when are absintheurs respectful of laws of any sort? All of the UK and continental vendors sell into US and ship by post as well as by common carriers. The common carriers also have regulations against shipping liquor or wine, or didn't you know that? Go read the UPS website. As long as SC and aren't likely to be extradited to USA for shipping bottles through the post, I see no reason to worry about it. None at all. These laws are rarely enforced because they are almost impossible to enforce without 100% inspection. An impracticality. And honestly, as we all know, those agencies have far more serious fish to fry.

They are far more worried about fruits and vegetables than booze.

They are far more worried about fake rolexes and pirate software than booze.

They are a THOUSAND times more focused on drugs, so why should they spend time worrying about booze?

Prohibition ended a long time ago.

It isn't the absinthe laws we are talking, no one cares about those Thank God. It's the Post Office thingy about liquor, and that's designed to prevent damage to the mails from broken bottles. Advice to shippers: pack well.

Absinthe drinkers all, we are notorious scofflaws.

By Absinthedrinker on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 08:14 pm: Edit

Without divulging information that might embarass either party. AFOAF also had a shipment of absinthe busted at Fort Worth last week. Maybe the USPS there are getting into the Christmas spirit.

By Tavis on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 08:13 pm: Edit


I was thinking more along the lines of why send alcohol by US mail if there are laws against the sending of alcohol through the mail. Surely these items should be sent by parcel post, i.e. private delivery firm.

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 08:00 pm: Edit

Tavis, there don't seem to BE any 'wrong' methods.

The fellow I gave my unopened bottle of Sebor to, hand carried it back to USA. He is an importer and had maybe $20,000 worth of asian stuff to clear, Customs raked him over the coals for taxes etc (he imports tantric objects, beads, Tibetan rugs etc.) The inspector who was hassling him picked up the Sebor's, looked at it, said "Ugh, Absinthe?" and put it back in his suitcase. It was the only thing that Customs DIDN't hassle him about.

Hand carries, Post Office, UPS, FedEx, DHL, TNT, whatever, it does not seem to matter. The overwhelming experience of the absinthe community is that this is a non-problem.

By Tavis on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 06:21 pm: Edit

If you choose the cheaper delivery option to the USA with spiritscorner, does the package arrive by Fed Ex or through the normal mail? I'm just wondering because postage for two bottles at is 30 UKP, on a par with spiritscorner's correos/airmail option.

With the UK the slower delivery option from SC still means private delivery firm (TNT in my case).

I'm saying all this because I wonder if are sending packages to the USA using the wrong methods?

By Grimbergen on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 03:58 pm: Edit


Someone here posted a link to an article on the topic you mentioned. I can't remember when it was, or in what thread.


By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 02:48 pm: Edit

Customs spot-checks, sure. And they have authority to 'interdict' absinthe as contraband. But they don't. They don't need to have the Postal Inspectors -- not the white hot center of federal law enforcement -- do their dirty work.

The Postal Inspectors do NOT spot check anything. If a package was leaking sticky green liquid, reeking of alcohol, they would however wake up from REM sleep and take notice. And that law is in place to (a) protect the mails from being damahed, and (b) esp recently, collect State liquor taxes.

However, all these folks have a LOT higher priorities, the Federal government really doesn't give a rats ass about State liquor taxes, just Federal liquor taxes, and that's all she wrote.

There are merchants out there in the US of A who are terrified of mail order sales and esp e-commerce (as if it were different!) and who feel threatened by loss of local sales, not just of booze but of everything. And states that have Revenue Departments terrified of 'lost' tax money. All bullshit of course but, they are pushing for legislation enabling the federal government to collect state sales taxes centrally and then distribute to the states.

All this to keep corrupt, wasteful, bloated state bureaucracies in the chips, what a joke.

By Admin on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 06:37 am: Edit

Damn, damn ... I snipped an article awhile ago that I have since lost. It was about enforcing either a new law or cracking down with an existing law limiting the transport of alchohol via mail across state lines and, the article claimed, was specifically aimed at companies like

Damn. Would have come in handy right now.

By Pikkle on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 06:35 am: Edit

I don't know, I think the statement "causes to
be delivered" if read broadly enough, could
indeed mean the one who is ordering or
directing something to come to him/her in the
mail... open to legal interpretation I suppose. I
continue to take my chances as do we all but
once the government figures out what's going
on, on the scale it's going on at, who knows...
my two pesos.

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 06:12 am: Edit

U.S. Customs obviously spot checks international packages, but they may not necessarily enforce U.S. Mail regs. Therefore, it is conceivable that even if inspected by U.S. Customs, unless USPS decides to inspect it, the package will probably proceed unmolested.

By Perruche_verte on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 06:12 am: Edit

I think I'll try and get a job with the Customs (hint: one hand washes the other)...

By Rachel on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 05:45 am: Edit

As I mentioned in a previous post, about a year ago (or 9 months?) an order arrived from SC that had been customs inspected, or at least it had the "opened by customs" tape all over it. I do not remember if it was usps or customs official-like. Perhaps I should have noted it. The 3 bottles in the box were entirely re-wrapped and shipped to me intact and on time, all was accounted for.

I just assumed at the time that it was a spot check. And have placed many, many orders since without incident.

By Chrysippvs on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 05:36 am: Edit

I know people that have parcels opened by customs via USPS and the contents were not tampered with.

I think that the final note of this issue is: On small shipments, the postal service and/or customs randomly takes bottles as they please. If the seller is willing to replace them then what are you out of?

By Marc on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 05:30 am: Edit

Many moons ago I received 18 bottles from spiritscorner. 12 were
broken. The FedEx guy was saturated and smelling of anise. I signed off on the packages. No problem.

BTW, spiritscorner replaced the 12 broken bottles.

By _blackjack_ on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 05:30 am: Edit

Like Don said, that was the Postal Service, not the Customs Service. That could have happened if the absinthe had been sent from inside the US.

The fact is, you won't even get in trouble with customs for being sent Cuban cigars (which are much more illegal than absinthe) unless you are bringing in large quantities. All that happens is that they send you a letter saying that they seized something they believe to be Cuban cigars, and that you have to put down a $500 bond in order to have a hearing in which you must prove that they are either not Cuban (which is impossible to prove without dissecting the cigars) or that you were bringing them back from a liscensed diplomatic trip to Cuba. If you don't respond, nothing happens except your name goes on a computer somewhere and customs gets to smoke your cigars.

So the only risk involved in ordering absinthe is the financial one if your order doesn't make it. Nobody is going to arrest you.

By G__ on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 05:24 am: Edit

Correct on the scare tactics, Don.
"Whoever knowingly deposits for mailing or delivery, or knowingly
causes to be delivered by mail, according to the direction thereon,
or at any place at which it is directed to be delivered by the
person to whom it is addressed, anything declared nonmailable by
this section, unless in accordance with the rules and regulations
authorized to be prescribed by the Postal Service, shall be fined
under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
Whoever knowingly deposits for mailing or delivery, or knowingly
causes to be delivered by mail, according to the direction thereon
or at any place to which it is directed to be delivered by the
person to whom it is addressed, anything declared nonmailable by
this section, whether or not transmitted in accordance with the
rules and regulations authorized to be prescribed by the Postal
Service, with intent to kill or injure another, or injure the mails
or other property, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or
imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
Whoever is convicted of any crime prohibited by this section,
which has resulted in the death of any person, shall be subject
also to the death penalty or to imprisonment for life."

By Tabreaux on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 05:23 am: Edit

They probably use UPS, Fed Ex, or other courier.

Technically, it is illegal to send alcoholic beverages through the U.S. Mail. If you have a package inspected, and the particular inspector decides to exercise judgement, the contents may be confiscated. I know of several packages which were inspected and allowed to go through nonetheless. In this particular case, the recipient was just unlucky. UPS and Fed Ex cost more, but delivery is all but certain.

By G__ on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 05:15 am: Edit

I wonder how and similar businesses (zillions of them) get around this postal law. Curious.

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 05:09 am: Edit

This was the Postal Inspectors, not Customs.

The Postal Inspectors would have only gotten involved if a bottle broke. Anise liquor leaking into the mails would piss them off and you'd get the sort of nastygram you got. BTW as recipient not sender, you are NOT liable for that fine etc, they were just scaring you (succesfully it sounds like). Go read the law.

By Malhomme on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 05:05 am: Edit

Have you sucessfuly received packages from since this occured?

I'm wondering if you're now on a USPS "hit-list"....

By Don_walsh on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 04:30 am: Edit

The exception that proves the rule.

By Eric on Tuesday, December 19, 2000 - 04:24 am: Edit

this past september I placed an order for a 70cl bottle of mari mayans 55, and a 20cl bottle of MM 70 from about two weeks later I recieved a package from USPS. on the outside were two red rubber stamps that said "open by US customs for tariff purposes only dallas ft worth texas". the package had been opened and then retaped shut. inside the box was an empty styrofoam liner and a letter. since I do not have a scanner, here is the text of the letter.

airport mail center
DATE:(left blank)
REF: SWPD:AMC:PIS:abr:75261-9741
SUBJ: Restricted matter-intoxicating liquors

Dear Postal Customer:
Recently a parcel, with you shown as the addressee, containing intoxicating liquors was found at the Dallas/Fort Worth AMC Facility.
Sending intoxicating liquors through the mail is a violation of title 18 US code 1716 Section F.
Section F states: All spirituous, vinous, maited, fermented or other intoxicating liquors of any kind Are non mailable and shall not be deposited in or carried through the mails. Fine not more than 10,000 or imprisoned not more than 20 years or both.
Intoxicating liquor: bottle, can, plastic, when found in the mail: the Inspection Service is notified and disposed of completely according to the instructions.
If you have questions concerning the mailability of items in the future, please contact your local post office.

Postal Inspection Service
Dallas, TX 75261-9741

2300 w 32nd st.
Dallas, TX 75261-9741

I will be happy to send anyone interested a photocopy of the letter.

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