Totally agree on the EC. It is definitely their best dress boot to my eye - even though they initially made it up as a country boot. These MTOs have all been spectacular. If only it was on a different last than the 2....That is disappointing for a first. Glad you're sending them back. They waste so much shell with their poor QC sometimes.
Either Alfred Sargent or C&J, but I'll go with Fred G.'s knowledge.General rule of thumb: Retail price $598 - 600+ will be AS or C&J. Retail price low $400s is going to be Loake. For the made-in-England shoes, of course.
Just noticed the new First Avenue boot is only available until Nov. 18.
If anyone orders it, please report on your findings. I'm going to wait this one out - not willing to spend $425 on an AE shoe unless I can see in person and try on in store.