Knowing how to date a bottle is something every bourbon sipper should know how to do. But cracking the codes from each distillery over many generations can be a little bit of a headache, so we compiled the information for you.
Below are general tips you can use to determine the age of your bottle. Be sure to bookmark this link as we will be adding more information for various distilleries over time. Whiskey ID is a great source of information if you can’t find enough info about your whiskey bottle dates here.
On the bottom of many glass bottles, you will find a two-digit embossed number which corresponds to the ending two digits in the four digit year 99 would be 1999, 01 would be 2001. This number is often located in the lower right region of the base of the bottle.
Depending on the precision of knowledge needed around the year, the glass date may not be enough information for you to know what exactly you have in your bottle. However, this is generally the easiest and most recommended way to help determine your whiskey bottle dates.
1985 that is the date you need to keep in mind. Tax strips were found regularly on bottles until this date and some continued with a faux tax strip afterwards which has no legal representation.
Bottled in Bond – Green Strip – Will show distillation and bottling years.
Bottled in bond tax strips (discontinued starting December 1, 1982.)
Until 1973 these strips designated the size of the bottle.
Non-Bonded – Red Strip – Do not show the years.
1945-1960 The words “Series” and “111” appear below the eagle in the center of red strips.
January of 1961, the “Series 111″ was changed to “Series 112″ on red strips and the size of the bottle no longer appeared at the end of non-bonded strips (except for mini bottles, which were excluded).
Prior to 1977, the strips referenced the Department of Revenue.
1977-1985 the strips referenced Bureau of ATF.
1982 the words “Tax Paid” and “Distilled Spirits” were replaced with “Distilled” and “Spirits” on the bottom of the strips.
Export out of U.S. – Blue Strip – Not all exports used blue strips.
Whiskey Bottle Dates – UPC codes came about in the late 70s – early 80s.
80244 – Buffalo Trace
80432 – Wild Turkey (Click Here for Wild Turkey Laser Codes)
80660 – Barton Brands
80686 – Jim Beam (newer Old Grand-dad)
81128 – Brown-Forman
83924 – Heaven Hill
85676 – Medley
86259 – National Distillers (older Old Grand-dad and Old Taylor)
88004 – Buffalo Trace
88076 – Heaven Hill, formerly used by United Distillers and Schenley
88508 – Stitzel Weller (although some Old Fitz bottled by Heaven Hill has been seen with this UPC also)
89319 – Old Rip Van Winkle
96749 – Heaven Hill
Whether it’s laser codes, embossed bottles or tax strips, be sure to enjoy your bourbon.