Any bottles one acquires after the first one have to be based on ones enjoyment level, at least for me. I gave the same benefit of the doubt to the Woodford Masters Collection several times with very non-competitive bottles and they are hardly a "craft" distillery, no matter how much they want to appear so. Don't think I will be doing so again though!
So in the end to me it is more a matter of what your current objective is (and of course what you have the ability to afford. I don't like to throw money away any more than the next person but I am fortunate to have a good deal of flexibility in my spending). If someone is at the stage where they want to drink good consistent whiskey day to day at a reasonable price that is fine. If you are like me and at the stage where your interest is in learning more about different whiskey and different styles of whiskey and wanting to try a variety of different things then I think the Emerald 1865 is a very competitive price especially since there is little or no competition.