Here is what I've found so far:
1.) If there is no post code on the front, then it is 2004 or earlier. The post code was added between days 271 and 315 in 2004, but I haven't confirmed the exact date. This date corresponds to the change in the Uigeadail label as well.
2.) If the "bar" or date code is etched (like 2005 and later), then it is most likely 2004. 2003 had both etching and stamps with spacing.
3.) If the stamp or "bar" code has no spaces between any numbers or letters, it will be between 2002 and early 2003.
4.) If there are two rows of numbers stamped (with a double size "L"), then it should be 2001 or earlier.
This is just a quick description, but if you let me know what code you do have that is readable, and whether it is a stamp or etching, I should be able to let you know.
Also, check the small example I made below about the codes.
Once again I am stunned by the knowledge and helpfulness of forum members. Unfortunately I don't keep boxes but my bottle has no barcode on the rear label and the bottle code is definitely printed not etched. It has the large L and 2 lines of type:
* 02 % 4ML
The * is worn but looks like the remains of a 9 or a 3. The % is one of the little raised lumps on bottles (no idea what they are called) and may have been printed but long since rubbed off.
Thanks again for your help
I've heard the bumps called dimples, and that is how I reference them.
As far as I've seen, the Ardbeg 10 wasn't released until 2000 so it can't be a 3 or 9, and I've not seen one offered with a day earlier than 035 for 2000, but that doesn't mean this can't be an L0 02* (any day between 20-29). I've also not seen a date code of L3 with the large "L".
You can also use a small flash light and point it through the indention on the bottom of the bottle to illuminate the dimple to read the 2nd unreadable number.
I've attached a quick drawing to see how the number may be rubbed out, and to help figure out what the number could be.
First Part is Bottling Year:
L4 - 2004
L5 - 2005 etc
Second Part is day of year (3 characters)
Third Part is timestamp (4 characters)
Fourth part is part of the post code of the bottling plant they use (4ML)
The various codes are all made up of these 4 items in various different positions. I think you can work them out from that and hope it helps,
I should have explained the context of the code, but since I've done it on a few others, I am starting to overlook the complete explanation. Good Point!
As for someone hinting about or JM saying it may be more like 16 or 17 year old whisky, I don't know for sure. Since the Beist won't be around much longer, that shows that they don't have alot of stock of older whisky. They could be saving some last casks from the early 90's for a good 20+ year old soon, but I don't have any basis for that theory other than hope.
SOI, who I believe is one of the most knowledgeable chaps on Ardbeg whisky, mentions the lack of stock from 91/92, and it would be reasonable that it is no more than 13 years old as he spoke of in the Ardbeg 10: new vs. old thread. Also, the rumours of 97' Glenmo stock mixed with old 10 would help keep up supply.
I don't know if anyone, other than the master distiller, can conclusively answer the question about the true age.
Just my 2 cents.
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