The $50 Heaven Hill Tour

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The $50 Heaven Hill Tour

Unread postby angelshare » Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:30 pm

As members of the newly named Bardstown Whiskey Society, we just received our first promotional mailing. Included therein was an advertisement for a new Heaven Hill special 1/2 day tour for only $49.95. Complimentary tours are still available, but the paid tour is apparently for the serious enthusiast.

Our feelings were not entirely negative, but certainly ambivalent. On one hand, as members of what is sometimes called "the other site," Straight Bourbon, we enjoyed a fabulous private tour of Wild Turkey hosted by Jimmy Russell complete with white dog tasting in 2004. On the other hand, we paid for the 4 Roses breakfast that same year and felt unequivocally that we got way more than our money's worth. On the third hand, we felt like we were being treated more like serious enthusiasts on the WT tour, and the price of admission was something besides money - endorsement of fellow enthusiasts.

We see how the $50 tour COULD be worth it - personally conducted by Parker or Craig Beam? Special tastings? A bottle to take home? A combination? Etc.? But we can't help but be skeptical. And as married enthusiasts who travel in a pair, $100 would be a lot to drop on something like that.

Has anybody taken the tour? Or heard details? What do you guys think?
Dave & Tina
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Re: The $50 Heaven Hill Tour

Unread postby independant » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:32 pm

I went on this tour that you describe and had a great time. It was my brother and I and we were the first group to go on this tour. It started with the standard video and from there we went into the barreling room then into one of the rick houses. After that we went into the dump room. We spent a good amount of time in each of these places. It was only my brother and I so it was a very personal tour. Our tour guide was Lynn Grant the director of the Bourbon Heritage. She was very knowledgeable and knew the answer to all our questions. After we saw the barreling,aging,dumping, we went into the label room and got to see the thousands of labels that HH uses. From there into see the bottling lines and into their lab. After seeing all this we headed into the tasting barrel inside HH's gift shop for a real treat. My brother God bless him is not a huge bourbon fan so he only took small sips and only sampled two bourbons and left the rest for me. I think Lynn knowing I had a DD set me up. Me and her sampled the following. Parker's heritage #1 and #2. The barrel proof and the 27 year old, Henry Mckenna 10yo SB, EC 18, Evan Williams blue the 23 yo and Buinhiem wheat. The very best part was after all this she told us that because we were the first to take this tour it was free!!!
I have not been on BT's hard hat tour but I assume that you will see everything that I got to see at HH plus a working distillery. So it is up to you if HH's tour is worth the 50. I had a great time and at the time I was really new to bourbon and from it I learned a ton. That to me was what was worth the trip.
Lynn did say that in the future that other tour guides would give this tour but for my money she was great and I would ask that she give the tour if you do go.
I hope this helps.
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Re: The $50 Heaven Hill Tour

Unread postby independant » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:40 pm

We also got a great souvenir. We saw the single barrel line and the very nice ladies putting the wax on the EWSB made us up an empty sealed bottle of EWSB with the date of our tour on it.
I felt we got a lot of extra perks on our tour.
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Re: The $50 Heaven Hill Tour

Unread postby angelshare » Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:47 pm

Thanks for the review, independant. Certainly the tasting sounds top notch. And the only thing that matters in the end is that you got your money's worth. However, your post raises in our minds the concern that you got the SPECIAL $50 tour. It sounds like they were saying from the get-go that the normal tour would not have been so inclusive/expansive.

That aside, follow up question - if this tour was worth $50 fairly priced, how would you price the complimentary tours you have done? Speaking to the earlier post, the 4R breakfast was fairly priced at $20, and, given that there was a new product roll-out and sampling associated with it, $30 or $40 would have been reasonable. Heck, we would have probably paid $20 for a Jimmy Russell WT tour based on value.

But, in the end, the real issue is that the attitude used to be that if you cared enough about bourbon to want to learn about it, the producers were happy to give you their version of the VIP treatment for free. It seems that is changing, or, at least, the marketing strategy is.
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Re: The $50 Heaven Hill Tour

Unread postby BourbonDrinker » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:36 pm

With all the money hard core enthusiasts spend on their bourbon, it seems a little questionable to charge for the tour! I've been on a lot of industrial tours (beer, whiskey, food, electronics -- many taking 1-2 or more hours) and have never been charged! At $50, the tour better include copious amounts of tasting and some swag. I know, without a doubt, that many people on the free tour come back to buy souveniers! I am more inclined to drop some bills at a gift shop if I feel I've been taken care of! $50 is pretty high IMHO.

Yes, the BT hard hat tour is great (and free)... And yest, I've dropped more dough then I want to acknowledge in their gift shop.

However, $50 pails in comparison to the $7,500 Maker's Mark Master Distellery Experience!
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Re: The $50 Heaven Hill Tour

Unread postby bunghole » Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:15 pm

Angleshare,

You can trust Dan (independent) as he is a Virginian, and a Bourbon Brother of the Top Shelf!

What I'd like to see is distillers recognise Bourbon Enthusiasts as loved ones, and treat us as such. We love and purchase their bourbon, so they should love us. We write about their bourbons in mostly high praise. They in turn should treat us equally well.

It seems to me that any Bourbon Enthusiast should get special treatment. We've paid for it already. Don't charge us any more than we've already paid. Love us just as we have already loved you.

Linn
"A Kind Word Never Broke A Tooth."
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