I must admit I have not done them blind, but I did try Pliny (~3 weeks old, bottled, from the brewpub) next to Heady (not blind, with 20/20 vision), and for me, the hop flavor was far better in the Heady. The two guys I was with had not had Pliny before, and were incredibly psyched to try it, and felt the same way. While Pliny was a great IIPA, it still had the pithy bitterness when compared to Heady. Again, some prefer that bitterness, and all palettes are different, so it does not taste the same to different tasters.
Heady definitely varies batch to batch, so I would encourage you to try it again. In fact, the first one I had was itself relatively high on the 'mehmeter'.
I also agree with you on hype. However, I do remember my first pint of fresh Pliny at Cheeky Monk in Denver, and it was one of 'those' moments. Incredible. Few beers live up to the hype, but both California and VT are the Napa and Burgundy if you like hop-forward beer. My two faves so far from Cali are Blind Pig and Pizza Port Swami.
I would really be interested to do a blind triangle taste of them, but I think at this point, I could probably identify the origin. This is the real point of my OP, that they are so different (but both so good in execution and in flavor) that it may warrant a stylistic separation.