I expect that someday, a producer will make great bourbon (and other) whiskeys that are: (1) made from the most interesting strains of organic grains that have been (2) fermented by the most intriguingly compatible yeasts before being (3) distilled by methods that preserve the richness and complexity of the beer and (4) fully aged in specially sourced barrels cut from exceptional, tight-grained wood (5) with masterful regard for each variable that impacts the aging process along with (6) copious sampling to identify the honey barrels and satisfying vattings, which are (7) bottled without filtration or other modification and (8) marketed with full disclosure of every relevant fact a whiskey nerd/geek/lover would want to know–including the characteristics of the water used, which I left out of the above description. It may happen in phases (and already is to some extent), but my hope is for a large leap forward at one time through a combination of all or nearly all of these key elements.
I also expect that not too long after these whiskeys are introduced, the interest in today’s most hyped bottles will plummet sharply, and other producers of "premium" whiskey will feel tremendous pressure to up the quality and transparency of every aspect of their game. In the meantime, people like John Hansell and his colleagues will feel obliged to become little more than apologists for the laggard whisk(e)y makers. We will understand, because they cannot very well limit their enthusiastic praise to the tiny subset that is setting the new standard without losing nearly all interest and ad revenue–but we will still condemn them with righteous zeal.
And all the talk of how the whiskey golden age is behind us will stop amongst people who know anything about what’s going on. (The equivalent will happen with whisky, but I think it will take longer as they are behind the curve with their E150, second-hand wood, etc. Although the efforts with bere barley are promising.)
That is my vision, at least. Naive? Misguided? Moronic? Feel free to tear it apart. Or tell me about your vision.