Early Times Kentucky Whisky was introduced in the USA somewhere back in the early 1980's, I believe, to satisfy a demand for lighter entry level whiskies. The "real" Early TImes bourbon was sold only overseas, and is still hugely popular in Japan. In its class, it is an honest whiskey sold at a good price. It cannot be called bourbon only because some portion of the barrels used are second-use. It is a very simple whiskey, with all the essential smells and flavors represented (toasty popcorn, a hint of rye spice, some malty sweetness, a little lightly-toasted oak with just a hint of vanilla), with no complexity or challenging flavor elements that night be off-putting to a bourbon "beginner". It is good as a mixer where you would not want to "waste" an expensive, heavy-hitting sipping whiskey.
Note that the newer "Early TImes 354 Bourbon" is finally hitting the shelves. "354" is true bourbon, like the export version, if still at the lighter end of the spectrum (although I think "softer" is more accurate than "lighter") , but it does have more character than the ET "Kentucky".
I value whiskies in this class. I do not always want to have a drink that demands my full attention and concentration with every tiny little sip. Having a lighter, but competently made, simpler whiskey also helps me avoid taking my high-end stuff for granted. Softer whiskies, I find, are also more food-friendly (same goes for wines).