That's why I was paying close attention to it. Legal wording is funny these days (and I'm not a lawyer), so I wondered if you hand feed something through a sewing machine (as AE does), does that give you legal right to say "hand-stitched" vs. "hand-sewn". Alden can say "hand-sewn" because somebody is actually using two needles and and awl and actually manually sewing their LHS loafer. Shades of gray. Either way, the shoe looks extremely nice.
You are right that you have to approach wording with some skepticism these days. My first impression was that Alden is just using a heavier gauge thread on their LHS. The thinner thread on the Patriot makes it look a bit more machine like. I find that AE is amongst the best when it comes to transparency and they know they are under a lot of scrutiny, so I would like to think they aren't playing with words in order to be deceitful.