It does NOT denote when the whiskey was put in the bottle, as some suggest, but possibly when the bottle was made – or even when the mold for the bottle was made. Reach out and see if anyone at the company can tell you when it’s from.It could also just be a proof number or something from the manufacturer and mean nothing at all in regards to age. If it’s a style that’s no longer made do a quick Google search to see if you can find out how long it was made for. Another great way to figure out the relative date of your bottle is advertising.
Look for any clues on the bottle itself that’ll pin point it. Some bottle codes are easy to decipher while others are not, but if they exist they’re a great place to start.
In the image above we see that it’s commemorating the 200th anniversary of Evan Williams and on the bottle they say the distillery was founded in 1783. If you can’t decipher them, and can’t find anyone else online who has a clue, reach out to the maker (if possible) and see if they can steer you in the right direction.
That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, and figuring out the exact age can be a real hassle, but there are 11 basic clues and resources I use when trying to determine how old a dusty bottle of whiskey is.
Below is a run through of each along with some additional resources at the end.
Though if the numbers have faded you can ball-park it by looking at the verbiage on the strip itself.
If it reads: “This bottle has been filled and stamped under the provisions of sections 50 Internal Revenue Code.” then it’s pre-August 1959 because in August of 1959 the sections it refers to changed to 52.https://books.google.com/books/magazines/language/en Using the info here you should have no problem figuring out at least a ballpark age for your dusty finds. With a bit of practice you’ll soon have your friends asking you how to date a bottle of whiskey, but if you want to make ‘em “learn the hard way” you can always send them here. Typically embossed on the bottle itself, though sometimes printed on the label, these words will date your whiskey to sometime between 1932 – 1964.I always save this for a last resort, but look at the bottom of your bottle. Likely there is and it could denote when the bottle was made.Some states also used their own tax stamps (top left of the bottle above) which can give clues like the State Treasurer’s name, tax rate, State Secretary’s signature, etc. It’s a Manufacturer’s strip designed to reproduce the general look of a tax strip.