I had posted earlier where Nick at B.Nelson had a reply from AE on the changes in finishes which read:
Cordovan: We changed our cordovan burnishing process to increase the smoothness and luster on our cordovan shoes. We shifted the burgundy to a darker color. The new process results in a very durable color allowing the black and burgundy to be more black while increasing the amount of luster. Burnishing cordovan is much more difficult than calf skins, so we have dedicated one of our best and most experienced burnishers to cordovan. As a result, the new cordovan shoes look great.
So in reality it could be said that AE didn't "change" the finish on the shoes but the process which would explain the earlier response from AE saying there was no change in the finish. I would say the pair of Dundee's I have reflect exactly what is bolded above though.
I couldn't find an example of shell but here is one of Strands in calf before and after burnishing:
It took a lot longer to get the cream off the Dundee's than I thought it would, plus the brushing to make them "glow". Still a bit of oil that needs brushed out but they will do for now. The shoes that I have were definitely done by the person that AE mentions above. Lighting changes the look dramatically and now with the cream gone you can see the black highlights and deeper burgundy color, along with a higher gloss finish. I am very impressed and hope everyone that has a pair coming gets the same finish. Minus the heavy shoe cream application of course.
I had a lady friend over last night and this morning I was carrying the Dundee's inside after the last brushing and she comment what a beautifully colored shoe. Then said she wondered if they would fit her.... Later she said that was the most tense she had ever seen me, so I showed her something that I lifted from AAAC, she has a better understanding now LOL.