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Need Help Figuring Out Shipping to US from UK

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Need Help Figuring Out Shipping to US from UK

Postby Mozzie » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:59 am

A few months ago, my husband and I (who live in Southern CA) spent a lovely week in Scotland visiting distilleries and trying all sorts of whiskys. We had not actually planned to purchase a lot of bottles, so we were caught unprepared when we realized we had more bottles than we could comfortably lug from train to ferry to train, etc. The shop we were in when we realized we had hit critical mass did not ship to the US, but they gave us a box and pointed us to the post office. We packed everything up and shipped it to ourselves and thought nothing of marking it "spirits." You can imagine what happened next.

The box was ultimately returned to the B and B where we had stayed. We did more research and prevailed upon the B and B owners to re-send it to us. They shipped it 2-day through Royal Mail and marked it "collectibles." This was still not the right thing to do, and it was scanned to determine what the collectibles were, and then it was returned again to the B and B as it was alcohol.

Does anyone have ideas that do not require a plane ticket? We are willing to try one more time to ship, but we'd like to maximize our chance of success. It is 9 bottles and we've tried to ship them together, should we split it up? What should we declare it as, since "collectibles" was wrong? Should we ship it to a business address instead of our home? Should we give up? I've read through the other shipping threads, but most questions are about buying from existing stores, or they are several years old.

All help and advice are appreciated.
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Re: Need Help Figuring Out Shipping to US from UK

Postby Wave » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:50 pm

Welcome to the WMF Mozzie.
When I buy whisky from Royal Mile Whiskies they ship it here (Illinois) as "Collectors Malt". I don't know how as an individual it can be sent but that's how RMW's does it. My first time through Scotland I did drag lots of bottles from train to ferry to train, etc. but I did manage to get them on the plane and home in one piece. As a public transport traveler I learned to buy the bulk of my whisky at the end of my trips to Scotland and fly them home.

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Re: Need Help Figuring Out Shipping to US from UK

Postby MGillespie » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:47 pm


Technically, what you're trying to do is illegal under US law. It's not legal to have whiskies shipped to you from overseas unless you hold a federal importer's license (which you can't qualify for unless you're actually in the business of importing alcoholic beverages). You can bring in as much as you want for personal use as long as you bring it through Customs yourself, declare it, and pay any duties.

That said...the "collector's malt" routine is commonplace and has been known to work. There are some online retailers who will try to get whiskies to you in the US, but you run the risk of having them returned to the sender as yours were...or just having them confiscated completely.

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Re: Need Help Figuring Out Shipping to US from UK

Postby Lucas » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:17 pm

From my experience 'collector's malt' works very well for smaller volumes but may not be enough when it comes to full bottles. Also, nothing ever seems to get to Ohio...
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Re: Need Help Figuring Out Shipping to US from UK

Postby Willie JJ » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:43 pm

It seems to go through ok a bottle or two at a time labelled as collectors malt. I suspect its the number of bottles that are the main problem for you.
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Re: Need Help Figuring Out Shipping to US from UK

Postby jmrl » Tue Dec 28, 2010 10:48 pm

As far as I know alcohol is not allowed in the US postal service. any chance of getting friends visiting Scotland to pick them up and take it home. otherwise I see a dark night and a submarine.
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