Essentially it goes like this. The date code is five digits, with the first two being the day and the final three being the month (starting at December 1995). So that first code for the 1st of December, 1995 would have been 01 001. Today's code, for the 14th of July, 2017 would be 14 260. Here's a link that might help. Take the months stated and add one (as that first month was 001, not 000).
Here's the kicker though. Upon reaching for our tins, none of us could find said date codes. There's a label, and — in most of our cases at least — a handwritten date of purchase in sharpie, but no manufacturer date coding. Intrigued we went out to the warehouse to check the current stock and, sure enough, there were the date codes — as plain as the nose on my face — on tins and boxes of both SG and its sibling company Gawith Hoggarth & Co.
The 6th of January, 2017.
Not only that, but some quick spot checking lead us to believe that the system is accurate. One tin of GH&Co's Balkan Mixture had a date code of 28 252, or the 28th of November 2016, and a tin of St. James wore the code 07 254, or the 7th of January 2017. So plausible then.
So why then do these date codes, seemingly starting in December of 1995, only show up on relatively recent tins? Our best guess is that it was used internally in their own logbooks for some time before making the decision to make the date codes available to consumers. Either way, you can now tell at a quick glance (and a spot of mental arithmetic) when your favoured Kendal blends were produced. Well, on more recent tins at least.
Have your own thoughts on the matter, or a theory as to why this is only showing up now? Let us know in the comments below.