I'm a big fan of Heaven Hill whiskey, including all the usual suspects that are lauded around here: RittBIB, EC12, EC18 (when you could get it... more on that in a moment), the EWSB series. I've had several pours of the Parker's Heritage Cognac in a bar, and I loved it.
First and foremost I love HH for the quality of the whiskey, but I also love the economy of what they are doing: of the current offerings that I regularly buy and love (EC12, EWSB, EC12, etc.) they are all under $30, or close to it.
But that brings me to my question: why doesn't Heaven Hill offer anything which one might classify as "premium"? I mean something that is regularly available, but which has a little more age, or is a little more "special".
To give you an idea of way I am thinking of, two corresponding offerings from other distilleries might be:
+ Blanton's from BT... It's a single barrel, reputed to be be 7-10 years, but even disregarding the possible age (which is only guesswork, since it is ultimately NAS) it is regarded as "special" and selected from among the "honey barrels" of that BT mash bill.
+ Kentucky Spirit from WT... This bottle has declined in reputation this board, but the idea is still, as I understand it, the step up from the "regular" WT101.
Elijah Craig 18 used to fill this niche: single barrel, extra aged and available year round. But Malt Advocate put an end to that for us.
I suppose VOF also qualifies, but it's rare as hen's teeth. I've never seen it, even in KY.
Maybe it's just an issue of Heaven Hill being too generous: you could make a case that Evan Williams Single Barrel is in the same league as Blanton's or WTKS, it's just not as pricey. In fact, I would make that case. I like it just as well as Blanton's (never has WTKS). Maybe I'm just being distracted by the price point. Could be. Wouldn't be the first time I've been distracted.
But maybe what I wish Heaven Hill offered were some other products that were a bit more "special".
+ Rittenhouse Rye 10 Year Old. You could make this a single barrel offering, or a "small batch" compiled of some of the best barrels.
+ I'd really like to see EC18 return, but if not, what about a bottle that was basically EC12, with a dollop of 14 yr, 16 yr, 18 yr and 20 yr for good measure? Kind of like a HH "Rare Breed".
+ A regular offering that was barrel conditioned a la Parker's Heritage Cognac (or Angel's Envy). Let us have some EWSB that was aged in Cognac barrels, or in premium rum barrels, or something like that. Obviously purists would't be into this, and that's fine. But I'd love to see the innovation, and I'd pay to try it, too.
Anyway, something to think on and discuss.