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Pappy Van Winkle Laser Code Info / Date Codes

    • 195 posts
    July 11, 2016 12:55 PM PDT

    Date Codes

    Dating Van Winkle bottles post-2007 is made relatively easy based on “laser codes” or “dot matrix codes” printed onto the bottles. These codes indicate the a wealth of information like:

    • location
    • bottling line
    • date
    • time the bottle was filled

    Sometimes this datecode or laser code can be difficult to find and/or read. These codes are usually printed on the back of the bottle below the label, though on rare occasions, they can be above the label or under the label itself. One can use a bright flashlight shining though the bottle from the other side to aid in finding the code.

    There are two versions of the date code layout, each with its own information schema:

    Pre-2012 : K2240810:55

    In this example, the K = the bottling line, 224 = the 224th day of the year, 08 = the year bottled (2008 in this example), 10:55 = (10:55 am) the time bottled using the 24 hour time code.

    2012+ : B1420809:15 K

    Here, the B = Buffalo Trace, 14 = 2014, 208 = the 208th day of the year, 09:15 = (9:15 am) the time bottled using the 24 hour time code., K = the bottling line.

    Prior to 2007 Buffalo Trace didn’t use date codes, so it can be significantly more difficult.

    This post was edited by admin at July 11, 2016 1:02 PM PDT
    • 195 posts
    July 11, 2016 2:11 PM PDT

    This is info from  SKU at

    We do not wish to claim it is our own, but we do wish to share the relavent info with our members without leaving our site.


    Pappy Bottle info:

    As you'll notice, this list includes general releases only, not private bottlings, of which there were a number in the early days.  In addition, it deals only with bottle appearance and release dates, not with where various releases were distilled.

    Our chronology begins in 1972, the year the Van Winkle family sold the Stitzel-Weller distillery to Norton-Simon but kept the rights to the Van Winkle name.

    • 1972:  Old Rip Van Winkle 7 yo 90 and 107 proof released.
    • 1983:  Old Rip Van Winkle 90 & 107 proof changed from 7 to 10 yo.
    • 1989:  Old Rip Van Winkle 15 released, barrel bottle.*
    • 1990-1992:  Van Winkle 16 and 17 yo released for export only.
    • 1991:  Van Winkle 12 yo Lot A and Lot B released (Lot B would continue).
    • 1994:  Pappy Van Winkle 20 released.
    • 1997:  Old Rip Van Winkle 12 Rye released, barrel bottle.
    • 1998:  Pappy Van Winkle 23 and Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 yo released (Rye might have been released in '97).
    • 1999:  Regular bottles for Van Winkle series changed from (very light) green glass to clear glass.
    • 2002:  Address on Van Winkle whiskeys changed from Lawrenceburg to Frankfort when Van Winkles partnered with Buffalo Trace.
    • 2003:  Second release of Pappy 23 (late 2003/early 2004).
    • 2004:  Old Rip Van Winkle 15 (barrel bottle) replaced with Pappy Van Winkle 15 (regular bottle).
    • 2007:  Digital bottle codes showing date and time of bottling begin appearing on each bottle.
    • 2009:  Old Rip Van Winkle 23 decanter released. 
    • Fall 2011:  Last release of Old Rip Van Winkle 10/90.
    • Spring 2012:  Last spring release of Van Winkle whiskeys. 
    • 2013:  Old Rip Van Winkle 10/107 changed from barrel bottles to regular bottles.

    It's harder to pin down this information than you would think, and I (SKU) had lots of help on this list so my thanks go out to everyone who assisted.  Particular thanks go to the Van Winkles for digging through their records to find some of the more elusive dates.

    *"Barrel bottles" are the squat bottles that were used for the Old Rip Van Winkle and Old Weller lines, so called because the base of the bottle looks like a barrel, sort of.

    This post was edited by admin at May 25, 2020 10:19 AM PDT