The wide selection of delicious, contemplative pipe tobaccos available is among the most intriguing aspects of pipe smoking as a hobby. From smoky English blends to spicy Virginia/Perique flakes and myriad Aromatics diverse enough to satiate any sweet tooth, the options are endless. What's more, like all good things in life, tobacco only gets better with age. Purchasing a few extra tins to stow away can quickly build a cellar of matured tobaccos perfect for cracking open on special occasions or appreciating in the future.
But when it comes to cellaring tobacco, it's important to keep track of the age of the blends in your stash. For some manufacturers, like Cornell & Diehl, that task is relatively straightforward, as each tin has a date sticker on the bottom of the can. In reality, though, nearly all modern pipe tobacco manufacturers have their own manufacturing codes that can provide insight into the date it was produced. In this post, we'll take a closer look at Scandinavian Tobacco Group's most recent manufacturing codes for their US products, including popular blends like Orlik Golden Sliced, Erinmore, Peterson, and Escudo.
To the right of the barcode on the back of these tins, there's a 10-digit code. It can be easy to miss, so make sure to double check your tins. It should look something like this: 2107040609.
This 10-digit code is STG's manufacturing and date-stamp code for all of their US products, and while sort of intimidating at first blush, it follows a pretty straightforward format:
- The first two digits correspond to the year it was produced (eg. 21 for 2021).
- The second pair of digits reflect the hour it was produced, out of 24 (eg. 07 would be 7:00am)
- The third couple of digits denotes the month it was produced (eg. 04 for April)
- The next pair corresponds to the minute it was produced (eg. 7:06am, in this case)
- The final two digits reflect the day it was produced (eg. the 9th day of the month).
Once you parse all that out, you're left with a pretty exact time-stamp for when your tin of Orlik, Escudo, or Erinmore was produced. For our example tin above, the production date was April 9th 2021 at 7:06am. That's pretty specific!
Here's another, older example: 1408070314 = July 14th, 2014 at 08:03am.
So there you have it: a fast and easy way to date your Orlik and other STG-produced blends. Just look out for the manufacturer's code in the top right corner of the back label and follow this simple chart.
Have any tips or tricks of your own for dating various blends? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.
Please Note: These methods were given to us by the manufacturer, and were correct at the time of publishing. We've checked multiple tins in our warehouse and cellars, and all modern STG-produced tins appear to follow this format, dating at least to 2014.