Responding to my ongoing saga on how to spot counterfeit vodka (sometimes you just can't - not without your own microscope and laboratory, that is), Subhash Varambhia has sent me some thoughts on the subject.
He writes: "Your reader will have to bite the bullet. He should spend his energy finding out who set him up and how and why trading standards got involved - normally they are invisible."
Subhash had his own run-in a few years ago. A friend leaving the trade offered him some miscellaneous stock for a couple of hundred quid. He even got a receipt. In the stock were some cigarettes in a black bag, which he put up for sale in his store, Snutch Newsagents in Leicester.
"Days later a security officer from Imperial Tobacco walked in and introduced himself. I checked him out with HQ. He then zoomed straight to Superkings black 20s. He cleared my shelf (£40+) and said, 'These are counterfeit and I am lifting them'.
"There was nothing to say that they were counterfeit," adds Subhash. "They had all the features including the serial numbers embossed on the base of the packets. But the man said the serial numbers were wrong.
"When I asked about compensation/replacement, he asked, 'Do you really want Customs to get involved?'
"At that point," he concludes, "I started humming 'Silence is Golden' and 'God Save the Queen'."
Amen to all that.