There is nothing dubious about AE shell, at least to me. I have shell from AE, Alden, and RL Marlow which are made by C&J. As tampatravel said AE can be more of a matte finish out of the box but with time and work they can and will look like the others. Some differences in colors between them but overall I consider them to be the same quality shell. Great choice on the Dundee's. I prefer them over the Alden 2 eye chukka on the Barrie last by far.