Gary, on your recommendation, I decided to try EC 12 again. I made sure I got a 'newer' release of this bourbon to try. I found your review to be right on the mark, this is a beautifully balanced bourbon that just skates across the mouth with great precision.
Fearing the 'John Lipman effect' (suggestability), I hauled out my old bottle (which was in the least accessible place in my whole kit and kabootle of bourbon) to see was I just being led down the bourbon primrose path.
No, the answer is no! The old EC 12, while not 'bad' as I said in my last review, is no where near the equal of this newer batch. The older EC has a slight off taste as if it is somehow 'tainted'. I can only describe it as somewhat sour.
The new EC 12 (to my palate) has a caramel, maple, nutty aroma, with just a tiny bit of leather, and a wonderful whiff of butterscotch that is most irresistable. All the while, the rye plays hide and seek and peek a boo.
I think your bow toward cognac is spot on. It has some of the subtlety of cognac and seems to me to be very old bourbon whose time in the barrel was very productive. Thanks for aiming me at the 'new' EC 12 YO! I will get another bottle or two at $17.99. A tremendous bargain as you said.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas