New guy here ---
I just bought my first bottle of EC12 myself, last night. Unfortunately, I'm in the same boat as the OP.
I get a strong woody taste, and a strong hint of chocolate (which is pretty much a first for me in my bourbon tasting -- very nice for the second it lasts)... but then it finishes with an extremely dry, very astringent 'yech' taste.
I can accept flavor profile differences in small batches... but when quality itself is compromised, I can't keep coming back to it in hopes of hitting the lottery.