Alas, I took two shots. Got wearable shoes and pretty good shoes at OK prices, but never got them done right. I'm sure AE made money off me, but the process has soured me on ever paying full price for their shoes. If shrinking their offering to three colors only increases their ability to do quality control, I understand why they are doing it.
They have ONE more shot to redeem themselves. I still haven't received my Cornwallis, which are replacements for the The City shoes that I ordered at the beginning of November. I'd love for, just once, a pair of Firsts to come in in better condition than the shoebank shoes I've ordered, which have been surprisingly nice at a bargain price.
And the dark chili burnished, compared to just dark chili, is different. But they only burnish the toe to make it a little darker, as opposed to having to do the whole shoe. Just plain "Dark chili" is a color in the same spectrum as chili, but I think it's its own actual color.
This notion comes from having accidentally stripped some dark-chili shoes with an over zealous application of Saphir Renovateur and taken them back to the original leather color to start over. They're lighter than when I got them, but really the dark toe was the only thing that seemed to come from burnishing -- like it was burned into the leather to be darker. I don't really know the process for certain.