With Wild Turkey, the barrel entry proof has been raised a couple of times over the years meaning that older Wild Turkey will have a fuller, richer flavor. Old Granddad used to be produced by National Distillers before the brand was acquired by Beam in 1987, and older bottles will have a thicker mouth feel and more of a butterscotch flavor. Old Fitzgerald was previously produced by the legendary Stitzel-Weller before being sold to Heaven Hill in 1992, making it very desirable.
While identifying desirable dusty bottles is often brand specific (e.g., Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye), dusty bottles of all brands can be dated by the markings on the bottle, the label and the tax stamp (if any). The table below summarizes the key dates and markings.
|1945||The phrase "Series 111" is added to the left and right of the eagle's feet, respectively, on the Federal Tax Strip|
|1945||Bottles made by Owens-Illinois Glass begin to use date codes and a simple "I" inside of an "O" mark|
|January, 1961||The phrase "Series 111" is replaced with the phrase "Series 112"|
|1964||The phrase "Federal Law Forbids the Sale or Re-use of this Bottle" is no longer inscribed into bottles|
|September 1, 1977||The phrase "Less than 1/2 Pint," the phrase "Series 112" are removed from Federal Tax Strips.|
|September 1, 1977||The words "Bureau of ATF," "Tax Paid" and "Distilled Spirits" are added to Federal Tax Strips|
|1978||UPC Codes began to appear on labels|
|1979||Labels begin to display metric measurements|
|December 1, 1982||Green and blue Bottled-in-Bond Federal Tax Strips are discontinued|
|July 1, 1985||All Federal Tax Strips are discontinued|
|October 10, 1988||Labels are required to show "% Alcohol"|
|November 18, 1989||Labels are required to show government health warnings|
For dusty bottles in Japan, one additional item of information can be helpful. From the mid-1970s until 1990 all whisky in Japan had to display its "class" on the label. Prior to the mid-1970s and after 1990, no class designation was required. These classes were based on ABV as follows:
|Class S||>40% ABV|
|Class 1||40% ABV|
|Class 2||<40% ABV|
Importantly, the class designation will be in Japanese and not in English. The following table provides the Japanese class designation and an English translation.
|Class S Whisky||ウイスキー特級|
|Class 1 Whisky||ウイスキー１級 or ウイスキー一級|
|Class 2 Whisky||ウイスキー２級 or ウイスキー二級|
As noted above, bottles from before or after this period are not required to display a class designation. These bottles will only state that they are "ウイスキー" (whisky), without any mention of a specific class.