Archive through December 13, 2000

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Topics Archived Thru Dec 2000:Absinth in Australia?:Archive through December 13, 2000
By Midas on Wednesday, December 13, 2000 - 05:37 am: Edit

...and here I am.
First of all, it's good to see another Australian on here. I was starting to think my little group of absinthe drinkers here in Sydney were the only ones! So greetings Abramelin.
The reason you've found next to nothing on absinthe's legal status here is because there is very little info around. To get to what you want, you have to do a hell of a lot of digging. A friend and I found that out the hard way. Most of the relevant information is found in the Food Code, not in federal or state legislation as you would think (the exception being the Northern Territory, where a 1984 ammendment to the liquor laws refers specifically to absinthe). If you're so inclined check out the Australia & New Zealand Food Authority website:
Absinthe is a very grey area in terms of Australian law. More so at present than ever before(ooh, I rhymed!). At present, it is illegal to commercially import or sell absinthe here. Importing for personal use is another matter. It's not technically legal, but it's not high up on the custom's authorities list of priorities. I buy all my absinthe from Spirits Corner, and have NEVER had a problem with getting it through customs. I've even had a shipment opened and inspected. I had to pay $50 wine & spirits tax, but that's all.
The Australian Food Code is up for revision as we speak. The new code would be more open to commercial absinthe sales, but since the next sitting of parliament on this issue is not 'til February 2001, you'll have to wait a couple of months. Hopefully, if I have my way, you will see several brands in bottle shops up and down the east coast in the next 12 months, and have you're very own absinthe distributor right here in Oz.
And yes, artemisia absinthium is legal here. I bought three plants from a local nursery.
If you want any more info, by all means email me. My email address is listed in my profile.
Oh, and you will find better brands than Sebor at for half the price.

By Don_walsh on Wednesday, December 13, 2000 - 12:43 am: Edit

My advice would be, that unless the UK vendor has already shipped -- cancel the transaction.

1. Why should you be paying for UK import duties? If you want Sebor, buy from Kyle.

2. Frankly you may want to rethink Sebor as a choice. Czech absinthe, like Klingon justice, is a singular viewpoint. I bought 2 50 cl bottles of export Sebor from UK a few months ago, paid about 39 UK pounds for each, saved on shipping by having a friend hand carry them to Bangkok. I had 2 drinks out of the first bottle, the second only because I couldn't believe how -- different -- the taste was to all other absinthe I had (and have since) tasted. And not pleasantly different. The other bottle, I gave away. And by all accounts this is far and away the 'best' of the Czechs.

3. Bob's advice is excellent. SC is hard to beat for price. And Midas can advise you on your chances with Australian Customs rules. If I remember his posts about this: the Australian limit is based on mg/liter not Kg and is therefore somewhat more stringent than EU/UK limit. In addition there is an upper limit on alcohol degree by volume, maybe 50-55% abv if I recall. And finally if you meet those tests, it's OK to import your own but not OK to import commercially for resale.

Good luck, mate!

By Abramelin on Tuesday, December 12, 2000 - 11:44 pm: Edit

I'm not impressed having to pay that sorta money for absinth, it wasn't easy, and honestly I didn't know where to find the cheap stuff. Can't do a lot about it now though. I guess in the future I will know where to shop, but more of a concern to me right now is wether or not the bottles I bought will even make it through customs. Paying that much in the first place is one thing.....paying that much and getting nothing in the mail is even worse.Cross your fingers for me.

By Bob_chong on Tuesday, December 12, 2000 - 10:59 pm: Edit

Wait a minute--did you buy the 50 cl bottles? If so, your last purchase was even more painful than I thought.

If this was the case, you have paid $300 for one liter of Czech absinthe.

Again, you could have had 5 liters of Spanish absinthe for less...



By Bob_chong on Tuesday, December 12, 2000 - 10:51 pm: Edit

Buy from, not from UK sites. Two reasons:

1. Czech=dreck. And it's expensive "absinth" at that.

2. You could have bought five bottles of Deva from spiritscorner (including shipping) for $242 Australian.

So, you basically paid $150 per bottle for a bad product when you could have paid $48 per bottle of something far better.

Sorry if I'm coming off like a jerk. I just don't understand why people don't buy from Spiritscorner.

As for the Aussie issues, I expect Midas will weigh in when he gets the chance.


By Abramelin on Tuesday, December 12, 2000 - 10:11 pm: Edit

As you've probably guessed I'm a newbie to this forum & I'm from Brisbane in Australia.
Only yesterday I put in an order for 2 bottles of Sebor Absinth from the UK, and hopefully *crossing fingers* the 2 bottles will make it through Australian customs and into my hands.
Which brings me to a couple of questions, and hopefully someone will be able to help me.

Firstly does anyone know the legal status of Absinth in Australia? I've looked in a lot of places and found next to nothing. I read a post in this very forum saying it was indeed legal to bring in with a 10mg/kg thujone limit, but then I've heard that the wormwood plant itself IS illegal here. I bought the Sebors Absinth with the hope that it does slip through customs.
So can anyone help me on this subject?

My second question relates to the first, and is, if absinth is indeed a legal drink in Australia through some loophole, are there any importers here that might sell the brands I've read about on the net? 100 pounds for 2 bottles of Sebors translates into well into 300 dollars Australian. This is indeed a lot of money to spend on alcohol that I may want to drink more than once.

My last question is related to Absinth vs Pastis.
From what I understand from the FAQ, they are related but not entirely based on the same recepie. I've tried Pernod Fils, and Ricard.
Honestly, is there a big difference in taste between absinth and pastis like these? For instance modern Pernod Fils is intensely aniseed. Will I find this is the case with Sebors? What can I expect?

Thanks for listening to my rants and questions.
Any help would be apprecaited. I am facinated with the whole absinth rebirth and I hope I can join you guys/gals for a glass soon! :)

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