Originally Posted by Rollingthunder342
I just posted a new thread, Beware - Counterfeit Single Malts - it will answer your question and then some. BTW, it was the computer generated production code, and serial number on the back of the front label.
Interesting info, thanks. I recently purchased a bottle of the blue label from an online retailer (for nearly full price - I wanted to steer clear of anything on eBay/Craigslist or any other auction sites, for the reasons noted above). When I got the bottle I examined it carefully and some red flags popped up: namely the labels, on which the printing was fairly weak and the paper had kind of a ribbed look to it, but mostly the presence of an Italian tax seal on the cap; also, the fill level looked a bit too high in the neck. I'd read on the "Whisky Fakers" site (thanks for the link, Rollingthunder) about counterfeit Macallans and other single malts originating from the Italian market, so I had immediate doubts, to say the least! (-even though I couldn't be 100% certain it wasn't genuine).
I contacted the store and asked them to replace the bottle with one that didn't have a tax seal, figuring that would eliminate one source of uncertainty. Fortunately they agreed and sent a bottle that also had recognizable domestic (U.S.) wording as to alcohol content and volume on the front label, compared to the other one (which had European units), as well as the U.S. "Government Warning" on the back. Only thing is, the whisky itself is dark enough (a good thing?!!) so that I couldn't see through it to examine the back of the label for a serial number - got to use a flashlight, I guess!
All this of course points to the perils of buying sight-unseen. There's just no relying on images on store web sites, eBay, etc. compared to looking at and holding a physical bottle, and even then there aren't any guarantees. Obviously the first rule with high-end stuff is to avoid online auction sites if possible and deal only with reputable, established retailers.