IMO, There are a few things at work in acquiring rare make-ups and exotic colors:1. Luck2. An established relationship with certain retailers.3. Willingness to pull the trigger immediately if the opportunity presents itself.Plenty of guys have stories of missed opportunities due to a lack of no.3.
Saphir's Brown cordovan cream works quite nicely on brown shell.I seldom use Saphir's burgundy cordovan cream on Alden's color 8 (i seldom use anything), but I do use it on burgundy shell from other makers.Saphir's black cordovan cream is, well, black. I use it from time to time.Saphir's neutral cordovan cream is useful for any color, but it can darken some whiskeys.
^^ Regarding Alden/Rochester split-toe trees, and the issue of them not filling out the shoe very well: this is remedied - at least for me - by ordering one size larger. I am 9D Barrie and, when I use Alden trees (not always) I use large. The size guide says I should use medium. I used to use Medium, but have not done so for quite a long time.