Interesting debate - still in Barcelona and actually was out shopping at Carmina on Tuesday - picked up a pair of split toe loafers in Burdios or Bordeaux shell cordovan (a very rich dark brown). Also took my group (consisting of wife, brother-in-law and wife, and 2 year old) to Bel Y Cia afterward to see the Edward Green offerings. This is somewhat unscientific, but I have to say that none of them were particularly impressed with the Carmina offerings. I'm sure they thought the models on display were beautiful but nothing they havent seen in my closet before. On the other hand, at B&G, they were all blown away by the EG wholecuts in dark green leather calf - I have no idea what EG calls that leather. Carmina's burnishing or patina treatment of the calf leather is quite bland when compared directly with Edward Green.
For me, the Carmina shoes are certainly impressive, but I wouldnt say they're better than EG. If you're factoring price into the equation, Carmina is definitely worth a look. And, of course, if the Carmina lasts fit better, that should also factor in to your decision. But as far as I know, Carmina doesnt make anything remotely resembling a Falkirk, so the conversation about which is "better" would probably end there, for me anyway.
Of course, I think where Carmina is making its reputation is with the shell cordovan. In my opinion, shell offerings from C&J for RL and Alden are just too unwieldy, bordering on blob-like. But the Carmina's shell offerings that I saw in the shop were sleek and quite elegant to look at. The Forest last fit my foot perfectly and just had a great look to it. The stitching was top notch, and the sole appeared to be very well done, with a bit of a bevelled waist to go with the channeled sole - miles ahead of what you see on Alden and C&J's stuff.
Just my opinion - I'll post more pics of the shoes when I get back.